Christian Living Magazine March April 2023

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BOB & TERRI Anderson

In business with God and the Amish

A 40-year police career

PRAY FOR Your Pastor

Blessing church leaders


The power of history

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Terri and Bob Anderson

Volume 12, Number 2

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Editor Gaye Bunderson

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Christian Living is committed to encouraging and instructing individuals in their daily lives by presenting stories of people in the Treasure Valley who are living on a foundation of faith in Jesus Christ and who serve as uplifting examples to others. Views expressed in Christian Living do not necessarily represent those of the publisher. Every effort has been made by Christian Living to insure accuracy of the publication contents. However, we do not guarantee the accuracy of all information nor the absence of errors and omissions; hence, no responsibility can be or is assumed. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2023 by Christian Living Ministries Inc.

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Contents March / April 2023
Website Design SEO Idaho Distribution D&S Distribution • 208-985-6904 Need Prayer? Call Idaho Chaplains Association Talk to a Chaplain 208-968-1991 IN EACH EDITION “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” —John 13:35 The Road Less Traveled: The power of history 30 History, Culture & Faith: Rev. Timothy Dwight IV 18 Symbolism & Salvation: A lampstand for you 6 Wednesday’s Child: Meet Larry 37 Understanding Relationships: Enjoy your spouse 10 Biblically Responsible Investing: Motives and money 12 Maximum Health: A one-day fast 22 Your Daily Bread: Finances and faith 26 COLUMNS DEPARTMENTS Publisher’s Corner: The original Good Samaritan 4 “I Get To!”®: Choose faithfulness 16 FEATURES 20 Vic Rodriguez: A 40-year police career 8 Christians in Pakistan: A life of struggle 28 Philippians 4:8: ‘Think on these’ 36 U.S. Church: Theological amnesia 34 Fight deception: ‘Hold fast’ 38 Helpful tips: Blessing your pastor 24 God’s family tree: Be part of it 32 Meridian center: A place for community 14 Bible Blanks 31 Cover Story Bob & Terri Anderson: In business with God and the Amish Nampa Prayer Walk 7 Caldwell Prayer Walk 7 National Day of Prayer 31

Jesus – the original Good Samaritan

Each winter I look forward to spring and Easter with zeal. After months of cold, grey weather, I welcome the warm sunshine and look earnestly for the first hints of new life in my flower beds; anxiously waiting for the grass to turn green. I am a Spring/Summer girl, but more than that, it’s as if God is reminding me of Jesus’ promised resurrection through these “signs.”

One time I heard a pastor say “preach a good message, use words only when necessary.” I often ask myself – is my walk preaching “a good message”? Do my daily actions reflect what I believe? Am I truly living out my faith? I confess, it’s a daily challenge.

Am I victorious every day? Nope. Am I always successful in walking out my faith? Not in the least – I’m fully human. I get frustrated in traffic; get annoyed when the grocery store is rearranged; and am far more judgmental than I should ever be. I’ll admit I have not yet arrived. I personally don’t believe that any of us will “arrive” in our lifetimes, as we are a continual work in progress.

One of my favorite mottos is: I’m not competing with anyone else, I’m merely trying to be better than I was yesterday.

In the age-old parable when Jesus was tested by a scholarly lawyer, He shared how The Good Samaritan stopped to help an injured traveler when holier men crossed the road and looked the other way. Meanwhile the Samaritan, who was looked down on by the Jewish, stopped to care for the injured man, and then went on to provide for the man’s needs during his time of recuperation.

At first glance this is a great lesson on doing the right things in life. However if we stop and think about it, isn’t Jesus really

the Good Samaritan? Hasn’t He done the very same thing for each and every one of us – regardless of our pedigree or upbringing?

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Gal 3:28 NIV

Until I went back and reread some of my earlier columns I didn’t quite realize how much the pandemic has changed life in general. We, as a society, have lost countless things, and sadly I’ve observed that in many ways our society has lost general decorum, or civility. For some people, it has stolen their joy.

As we prepare to celebrate Passover and Easter, I invite you to join me in digging deep to restore the joy in this world that is found in the resurrection of our Lord and Savior. Jesus is the true Good Samaritan, and He loves you so much that He chose to come to earth, to live as a man, to die a brutal, sacrificial death for each of us. The fact that He rose again on the third day, as prophesied in the Old Testament of the coming Messiah, is cause to celebrate.

As my friend Greg often texts to remind me, don’t forget –“Jesus loves you!”

Until next time…

God Bless! n

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And behold, a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” But wanting to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Jesus replied and said,“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he encountered robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. And by coincidence a priest was going down on that road, and when he

saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan who was on a journey came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own animal, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return, I will repay you.’ Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” And he said, “The one who showed compassion to him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.” Luke 10:25-37 NASB Christian Living | March / April 2023 5 A Marketplace Ministry We believe your work is your mission field You’re invited to be a prayerful “gatekeeper” for the airport & community Come visit us Call or email regarding volunteer opportunities email: 208-371-8569 The chapel is located on the ground floor next to Avis Car Rental 3201 W. Airport Way #1000 Boise, ID 83705 Warren Milanowski, Boise Airport Chapel
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SYMBOLISM & Salvation What lampstand did God build for you?

It’s the prevailing theme in Christianity: Jesus died so we can have eternal life. In actuality, everyone has eternal life. The question is will it be in heaven with Jesus or in the lake of fire with the Devil?

In my last column, I pointed out that we can look at what Jesus did on the cross and trust that His blood covers our sins. All we have to do is believe (trust) in the power of Jesus’ blood. By making the simple request for Jesus’ blood to cleanse us of our sins, it will be like the first Passover for us. God will see that we received the blood by faith, and after we die physically we will not be sent to the second death (see 1 John 5:4, plus Revelation 20:6, 20:14-15, and 21:8).

This “not saved by my works” awareness was tremendously freeing for me. I was raised in a denomination that was worksbased. My understanding was that if I did enough good things, the “good” checkmarks would outnumber the “bad” checkmarks on God’s clipboard, and I would be granted access to heaven.

Thankfully, I learned that God is a good God who loves me so much that He came to earth in the form of man and sacrificed Himself – took my place – to pay for my sins. There was nothing I could ever do to earn salvation. I simply needed to trust in what Jesus did.

That said, in my last column I also pointed out that although we are not saved by our works, we are saved for our works. We learn this in Ephesians 2:10, which says “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Everyone is called to a unique ministry

Please reread that Ephesians passage: We are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Most versions say we are God’s ‘workmanship.’ Some say ‘masterpiece.’ The Greek word is “poiēma,” which means something made or created. I don’t know about you, but if I take the time to create something, whatever I make always has a specific purpose.

As a side note,, a great website for discovering how certain words came to be, says that the English word “poem” is derived from poiēma. If you think about it, poems are thoughtfully created to convey specific meanings.

That’s how God operates. He thoughtfully made each of us with a specific, unique purpose in mind. And if we’re going to believe the Bible, Paul’s letter to the Ephesians tells us that once we’re saved, God has specific things He wants each of us to do.

The parable of the lamp

This reminds me of when, as a youth director in the 1980s, I attended the two-week Summit Ministries Christian Worldview course in Colorado. One teenager attending that par-

ticular conference went by the name of Camp. He sarcastically chose that nickname because every summer his parents would send him off to Christian camps.

It became obvious to me that Camp was just going through the motions, and I remember visiting with him one evening so I could inquire about his faith. Turned out Camp believed all Christians were supposed to fall into line and follow the list of do’s and don’ts heard from most pulpits. Out of nowhere (read: dropped on me by the Holy Spirit), I thought to tell Camp about the parable of the lamp. The passage is found in the fourth chapter of Mark, verse 21:

He (Jesus) said to them, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand?”

Most versions say “candle” instead of lamp, and the Greek word means a portable lamp, candle, or other illuminator. The idea is it’s something that shines a light. That was something Camp was called to do: be a light.

But the kicker came from reading the end of the verse. The lamp wasn’t put on just any old stand. It was put in “its” stand. A specific stand. A stand was created and put in place to hold that specific lamp.

As I spoke with Camp about this, I watched the lights go on for him (no pun intended). His face had “a-ha!” all over it. Camp realized that God had designed a special place just for him – a specific place in life where God wanted him to be a light.

The same is true for all believers. We are not saved to keep our faith to ourselves as one would put a lamp under a bushel. Nor are we saved to sit and warm pews on Sunday morning and maybe do a Bible study on Wednesday evening. We are saved to do the good works that God prepared in advance for us to do.

In no way am I suggesting that going to church or doing Bible study is bad. Quite the contrary. What I’m saying is that being saved involves each of us seeking God to learn what He would have us do. In other words, what purpose did God have in mind when He wrote the poem that is your specific life?

In closing, let me cite verses 17-18 from the 12th chapter of 1 Corinthians:

If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact, God has arranged the members of the body, every one of them, according to His design.

God is the ultimate designer. If you’ve not yet done so, please ask Him to show you the lampstand He built specifically for you. n

6 March / April 2023 | Christian Living
Daniel Bobinski, Th.D., is an award-winning and bestselling author and a popular speaker at conferences and retreats. Reach him at or (208) 375-7606. Daniel Bobinski

Nampa Prayer Walk organizer, Mary Tschannen, announced the annual event is set to begin at 3 p.m. Saturday, April 1, on the Mayor's Office/City Hall steps, 411 3rd St. S.

“We will start there and walk to downtown,” Tschannen said. Then, walkers will pray at different sites throughout town.

“We will certainly pray for the businesses in our town, as well as any other concerns facing our community,” the organizer stated.

The prayer walk is a family-friendly event.

For more information, contact Tschannen at (208) 466-2242 or n

Nampans to hold prayer walk downtown Spring prayer walk planned in Caldwell

The Spring Caldwell Prayer Walk is set for Saturday, April 22, starting at 3 p.m. at the Caldwell Memorial Park Band Shell, 619 Irving St.

Walk organizer Arlene Robinett said: “We will walk around downtown Caldwell, praying at the gazebo at the Indian Creek Plaza, at the police station, city hall, the fire station and then back to the park. We will also pray for all schools, including teachers, students, administrative staff and bus drivers that all will be kept safe.”

This is a family event and all are welcome.

“We have a wonderful time of being together and praying for our wonderful city,” Robinett stated.

People who prefer not to walk are welcome to stay at the band shell and pray. A potluck dinner will follow the walk, and those who attend are invited to bring their favorite dish to share.

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‘To Protect and to Serve’ – a 40-year promise

We often see TV news reports of horrific crimes that have occurred … police manhunts … fugitives hauled off to jail … or relatives distraught over losing a loved one to a violent act.

For most of us, it’s a way to keep abreast of the day’s headlines.

For former homicide detective Vic Rodriguez, it was a way of life.

Philippians 2:3-4 urges us to “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves; not looking to your own interests, but each of you to the interests of the others.”

And that’s exactly what Vic has been doing for the more than five decades of his adult life.

But growing up in rural southcentral Idaho in the ’60s, pursuing a law enforcement career was the furthest thing from Vic’s mind. His father – tired of going from farm to farm, eking out a living doing agricultural work – eventually settled the family in the small town of Burley, where he was soon hired as a police officer. “In fact, my father was one of Idaho’s very first Hispanic patrol officers,” Vic proudly points out. “But he never told us details about any of the investigations he was working on because he wanted to shield us from that ‘ugly’ world he saw every day. We would simply see him leave for work in his blue uniform, with his badge and his nightstick – and years later, in a suit with his shoulder holster hidden under it, when he was promoted to a detective.

“He didn’t want us to worry about what he did; he wanted us to concentrate on our family life. And our schooling.”

Following that advice, Vic – then a stocky and athletic eighteen-year-old – was awarded a baseball scholarship. In fact, he was recruited by several well-known colleges, but chose instead to attend the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls. The Rodriguezes were a small, close-knit family in a small, close-knit community, so attending CSI meant he could stay close to his parents, two sisters, and two brothers.

His father had several times encouraged Vic to pursue a career in law enforcement; after all, his son was strong, determined, loyal. He’d make a good cop. But Vic had other ideas. He wanted to become a physical therapist, although getting the knowledge, training, and certification for the job was way down the road.

He needed to make money now, to help support his family; so Vic took a job at the nearby Ore-Ida potato processing plant. But after several boring midnight-to-7 a.m. shifts doing little more than peeling spuds hours on end, Vic quickly changed his mind.

“That’s when I went to Dad and asked, ‘What would it take for me to be a police officer?’”

Back in those days – in 1974, and especially in small towns – it took very little.

Because, incredibly, one day later, Vic was hired on-the-spot as a patrolman for the Rupert Police Department, a town even smaller than Burley. “I wondered, ‘What have I gotten myself into?!’,” he recalls, “especially when my commanding officer told me little more than ‘Here’s your gun. Here’s your uniform. Here’s your badge.’ And sent me out on patrol.”

However, little did Vic know at that time that God had something amazing in store for him. Attending the Peace Officers Standards and Training Academy and becoming a certified law enforcement officer meant his career was off and running. And he quickly grew to love the work.

Of course, police back then didn’t have all the computers and high-tech gadgets they use today. So Vic tediously tracked down suspects by knocking on doors, working the phones, manually searching through public records, and meeting with confidential informants in sometimes seedy places.

But it wasn’t long before Vic realized “God had put me in the right place at the right time, because my career blossomed. I got to where I really enjoyed solving crimes (often arresting suspects a few days later), getting justice for victims, and essentially protecting and serving the community. The job, the work, the results all made me feel good. I loved it!” he beams.

For Vic, life was great. He was married, his family was growing, and he had a solid career ahead of him.

But something was amiss.

Raised in a devout Catholic family, his parents were very strong in their walk with the Lord. “But in my twenties,” Vic says, “I had put all my efforts and time and energy into my career … and eventually attended Mass less and less.”

Then pretty soon, not at all, often finding work-related excuses as to why he couldn’t go.

“At that time, I didn’t realize the necessity of staying connected to the Lord and to other believers,” he admits.

Eventually, Vic realized he had a “void in his heart”, as he puts in.

And his father knew it as well. “Dad kept telling me, encouraging me to ‘Come back to church. Come back to church.’ Honestly, I knew something was missing in my life. So I prayed and prayed to God for an answer, to give me a sign. And He soon showed me that the sign was already within me!”

So when Vic returned to church on a regular basis, “That’s when a whole new world opened up!” he recalls. “I realized what I had been missing all those years.”

Today, Vic and his wife attend both a Catholic church, in keeping with his own familial roots, and a non-denominational church, in keeping with his wife’s familial roots. “And we love it so much! We always both learn a lot from the messages. We always find them so uplifting,” he says.

In 1978, Vic was working as a detective for the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office in Idaho Falls when the phone rang. It was then-Canyon County Sheriff George Nourse, calling to offer him a job.

At that time, Canyon County was beginning to see a burgeoning Hispanic population. “I guess Sheriff Nourse had heard about my work in eastern Idaho and, being proactive, said, ‘I’m looking for a detective to help us in the Hispanic community. Would you be interested in coming to work for me?’” Vic recalls. The new job would mean a raise in pay and a higher rank. “So I took the offer.”

8 March / April 2023 | Christian Living VIC
Vic Rodriguez

But Vic was not your stereotypical, gruff police detective. “Jesus teaches us to ‘Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.’ And that’s exactly what I’ve done over the years, regardless of whether I was consoling an emotionallydistraught victim or sitting across an interrogation room table from a person who had purposely killed someone.

“I always treat people with respect. With dignity. With honor,” he says. “And, strange as it may sound, I always thank them for sitting down and talking with me. Because, after all, regardless of what happened to them or regardless of what heinous crime they’ve been charged with, they’re still human.”

Vic spent four years with the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office, until Bonneville County beckoned him back.

“And that’s when my career really took off!” he remembers. There, he became a full-time homicide/major crimes detective – and the lead investigator on many cases. In fact, Vic soon acquired a stellar track record. “I never had an unsolved homicide. The suspects I arrested were always convicted.”

And his work attracted national media attention. Twice. Production crews from a pair of true-crime documentary series – Investigation Discovery’s “Ice Cold Killers” and “On the Case with Paula Zahn” – came to town on separate occasions and interviewed Vic about how he had helped solve two of eastern Idaho’s high-profile homicides. He didn’t particularly enjoy having lights and cameras in his face; after all, he was simply doing his job.

But more important than all the closed cases and media notoriety, “… in this line of work, you have to have faith in the Lord,” Vic emphasizes. “Every major case I ever handled was terrible. And I felt it was my job as a detective, as a public servant, to bring closure to the victims and their families. So whenever I was working a case, I prayed. A lot. For the families, the victims. I prayed that they would find peace and consolation, especially after all that had happened to them; that they would even perhaps find it in their hearts to forgive the person who had so cruelly victimized them. And I prayed for myself. I often called upon the Lord to give me clear thinking, to help me look at the case from a different perspective, a different angle, to help me, guide me, and to steer me to that critical piece of evidence that would lead to an arrest and, hopefully, a conviction. And even when I’m not working a case, I pray quite a bit. It helps keep me focused on what’s truly important in my life … and to keep me positive.”

In 1999, Vic’s high closed-case numbers eventually caught the attention of Nampa Police Chief Alan Creech, who made the detective a job offer – which soon brought Vic and his family back to the Treasure Valley.

So, while now investigating robberies, check frauds, identity thefts, and the like in the Property Crimes Division, Vic also became supervisor of the Nampa Police Department’s CART (Child Abduction Response Team), tasked with locating missing or abducted children. “It was one of the most satisfying assignments of my career,” Vic recalls – noting that, of all the cases his team investigated, every child was located and returned to their parents unharmed.

Continued on page 11 Christian Living | March / April 2023 9
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Choose to enjoy life with your spouse

If I could see a show of hands, there are probably a lot of you who would characterize your marriage as “stuck.” What are some of the more common causes of stuck marriages? Pastor and author Ted Cunningham says that even though the issues vary, the roots are amazingly the same. In-laws, jobs, homes, communication, ministry, leadership in the home, laziness, nagging, holidays, and unresolved anger are all issues that couples say are the source of the problem. For some, money and the lack thereof is the cause. Others point to parenting styles and their inability to get on the same page with discipline strategies. And yet others blame a sexless bedroom.

Every couple experiences the grind. When a marriage gets stuck in the grind, the vacuum of intimacy sucks each spouse dry. It is exhausting and draining.

Because of the way most men handle stress – that is they withdraw from conflict and hard conversations (I know I’m talking in generalities) – it is not uncommon for marital issues to go unresolved for months, or longer.

In conflict, there’s the concept of the last 10%. In conflict we generally share 90 percent of the problem with little blood, sweat, or tears, but the last 10% is the elephant in the room –the part that leaves the relationship at risk.

When the relationship is at risk, couples are stuck. Sadly, many marriages end because one or both spouses blame issues and each other as the source of the problem. According to Pastor Ted there is a way out of the stuckness. There is a way to enjoy life and marriage at the same time.

To get unstuck as a couple, you must change your fundamental beliefs about the grind and your marriage’s place in it.

In Ecclesiastes 1, Solomon uses word pictures from creation to explain life and the grind. Here we get the picture of a grinder. The earth was here and churning long before my mother conceived me. Just like you, I was born into the grind. The churning never stopped. It is as sure as the sun rising and the sun setting. It is as sure as rivers flowing into the sea. The grind gives us plenty of hard times and challenges throughout life. But keep in mind, God already knows about the grind.

God gave Adam work to do before sin entered the picture. However, grinding work became part of the equation as a result of Adam’s disobedience. Romans 5:12 says, “Just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death came to all people...” The grind is the direct result of humanity’s fall in the garden and will last a lifetime. Age will not get you out of the grind. Even if you make it to 80 years of age, your life will be tough. It’s a myth to think

that the more years you get under your belt the easier the grind will get. Money cannot buy your way out of it. Degrees cannot outsmart it. Age and maturity won’t deliver you from pain and trials. Eventually your body will find its way into the grind.

So, you’re in the grind all the way to the end, and your only way out of the grind is death. Are you encouraged yet? Life is hard, and then you die.

The bookends of Ecclesiastes tell us life is hard in chapter 1 and then in chapter 12, we die. But in the midst of the grind God invites you to enjoy your life. Ecclesiastes 9:7-8 says: “Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do. Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil.” You and I have a responsibility in the daily grind. You and I are called to enjoy life. In the midst of the grind that is life, while you’re still alive, go and do something. Live life and enjoy it. You need to find and hold on to those moments. We can do nothing to escape the grind. So, in the meantime, choose joy. Choosing to enjoy life is a decision. Make that decision.

And for goodness’ sake, stop treating your spouse as the grinder. She is not the grind. He is not the grind. The grind is the seventy to eighty years you have on this earth, and God blessed you with a spouse to go through the grind with you. You have a grind companion. Just like my wife and kids coming along on a trip to be my travel companions and enduring all the airport stress, you and your spouse get to work through life’s challenges together.

You can enjoy life with your spouse in the midst of the grind. Hear Ecclesiastes 9:9. “Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun – all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun.”

This is the only place in the Bible where it says, “Enjoy life with your wife.” You and I do not need to choose between the two, and one does not trump the other. You can have both because marriage, done right, enhances life. n

Gary Moore served as associate pastor at Cloverdale Church of God for 15 years. He does couples’ coaching and leads couples’ workshops and retreats called MUM’s the Word. He does a weekly radio program called Life Point Plus on KBXL 94.1FM at 8:45 a.m. on Fridays. Monday mornings at 10 a.m. he does live relationship teaching called MUM Live on his Facebook page Mutual Understanding Method. He may be contacted at

10 March / April 2023 | Christian Living
Gary Moore Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Vic Rodriquez

Continued from page 9

On February, 2012, Vic brought his exemplary 40-year law enforcement career to an end and officially retired, with hundreds of supporters and well-wishers attending a ceremony at the Nampa Civic Center hosted by the Nampa Police Department.

And though he was perfectly happy not tracking down bad guys anymore, Vic still had a desire in his heart to keep serving his community.

So he became an active civic volunteer, serving with the Kiwanis Club of Treasure Valley, the Optimist Football League of Nampa, and the Nazarene Church Ministries Food Bank, among others. He’s also a longtime supporter of groups such as the Northwest Nazarene University Education Fund, Knights of Columbus-Catholic men’s charity organization with St. Paul’s Church, and the Idaho Sheriffs Association.

Deciding to further serve his community by entering the political world, Vic successfully ran for a seat on the Nampa City Council, and was sworn in as one of the city’s newest council members in 2017.

What he considers one of his most notable achievements was helping to get the words “In God We Trust” emblazoned on the wall of the City Council chambers. “No taxpayer funds were used, because my fellow council members and I funded the project out of our own pockets,” Vic explains. “To this day, I am so proud to have been involved with that project. Every time I see those precious words on the wall, I smile, say a prayer, and thank God for His help in making that effort a success.”

Recently, Vic was reelected to a second four-year term. And today, at age 71, while continuing to serve on the boards of several non-profit organizations, he works to keep his family life in balance, always making sure to spend quality time with his wife, four children, three stepchildren, and twenty-three grandchildren.

So what does his future hold?

“I’ve always felt: do what the Lord directs you to do, whether it’s in your private life or your professional life. So, as far as my own future? I have no idea,” he smiles. “But I’ll continue to willingly go – and willingly serve – wherever God leads me.” n

Steve Bertel is a multi-award-winning professional radio, television, print media, and social media journalist who recently retired after a 30-year broadcasting career. Now a busy freelance writer, he recently released his debut suspense novel “Dolphins of an Unjust Sea”, available on both Amazon and Kindle. Steve and his wife of 39 years live in Meridian, Idaho. He can be reached at

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Examining our motives in money matters

“Motive” is a loaded word. The dictionary defines it as “a reason for doing something, especially one that is hidden or not obvious.” Its root is in the Latin word “movere,” which means “to move.” What’s intriguing about the word is that it signifies an internal desire, but one that we may not have defined fully before we act. When you ask a child why they did something, they may respond “I don’t know.” We ask that question because we are trying to understand their motive, knowing that all actions result from motives.

Not only is it important to have clear motives, but also correct ones. In Genesis 11, we read that the people of the earth were building a tower “to the heavens,” not for altruistic reasons but “to make a name” for themselves. Their motive was clear; but it was not the right one in God’s eyes, and He was not pleased.

It is important to know our motives for money. Are we trying to make a name for ourselves, or are there more noble reasons? Fortunately, Scripture provides us with answers, represented by seven biblical principles for managing money.

We are God’s stewards. In Psalm 24:1 we read that “The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains.” We brought nothing into this world, and we will take nothing out of it. During our time on earth, we become custodians of God’s blessings in our lives, a reality that should undergird every financial decision we make.

As good stewards, we save. “Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man’s dwelling, but a foolish man devours it” (Proverbs 21:20). “Treasure and oil” speak of setting aside resources for future needs, whether expected or unexpected. Having enough savings to cover several months of expenses helps us weather the storms of life.

As good stewards, we are careful with debt. Debt can be a useful tool in purchasing assets that will appreciate, but borrowing always comes with a cost: “The borrower is slave to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7). We are called to be slaves to Christ, not to lenders. As good stewards we are to approach debt cautiously and wisely.

As good stewards, we invest. Matthew 25:14-30 tells of a master who was leaving his home to travel, and, before leaving, entrusted his property to his servants while he was gone. When he returned, he said these words to two of his servants: “Well done, good and faithful servant.” They are the same words we each hope to hear from the Lord when we meet Him. Since the parable speaks of the servants’ wise use of “talents” or “bags of

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gold” then how we invest the Lord’s blessings may be one of the reasons we hear those words.

As good stewards, we provide for our family. Scripture is blunt in expressing God’s mandate for us to take care of our families financially: “But if someone does not provide for his own, especially his own family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8). Financial care includes providing for our family’s present and future needs. Having sufficient savings and limited debt can help meet present needs, while investing regularly can sustain future needs (for example, not to be a financial burden on our children when we are old).

As good stewards, we bless others. Scripture encourages us “to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share” (1 Timothy 6:18). In the Old Testament we read of gleaning, where a farmer intentionally left a portion of his crop unharvested so that the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow could harvest the grain. Incorporating the concept of gleaning into our stewardship implies using a portion of our blessings to help others.

As good stewards, we set an example for others. We never know the impact our actions may make on others. A child seeing a parent manage money well can have impact for generations to come. In Matthew 5:16 we are told: “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” One of the bright beacons in our lives is how we manage God’s financial blessings.

In conclusion, we may not be physically building a tower of Babel to the heavens, but we are building our financial future. As we manage our money, let’s keep the right perspectives on our wealth. May we all look beyond the heavens to our heavenly Father and let Him motivate us. n

Doug Hanson is an investment advisor with Christian Wealth Management in Boise, providing biblically responsible investment advice to Christians. For more information, visit or contact him at or (208) 697-3699.

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Meridian center meeting needs of all kinds

Baker stated: “We support the traditional Sunday service, but what happens during the week? There’s just a lot of need. We help people with whatever they need.”

For Baker, who is an attorney, that includes a free legal clinic. “We don’t check on incomes – we’ll talk to anybody who comes in. We give them advice and a next-step in their legal issue, and we can make a referral to somebody in town.”

Baker went on to explain that first, the focus for all the programs is “identity and purpose” – in other words, teaching and representing to anyone who comes to the center that they are who God says they are, not who they think they are. And God’s perception of them is one of love, esteem, and value that flows from Him.

The Meridian Gathering & Resource Center has a social media presence and displays posters throughout the community and at big events such as a recent Mental Health and WellBeing program, as well as smaller events like Movie Night. Also, word of mouth is providing exposure to the center and its offerings.

The volunteers are well-trained in their areas of expertise. For instance, Boyd served in the nursing profession for 20 years before becoming a stay-at-home mom. In 2018, she enrolled to study Faith Community Nursing, a program offered through Saint Alphonsus and combining care of patients’ spirits along with their physical needs. She is certified through that program and called it “a partnership with nurses and families.”

Her contribution to the services of the MGRC is in answering patients’ questions about a diagnosis they’ve received from a physician, helping them understand their prescription medications, or referrals to others where necessary.

Sometimes the best-laid plans go...haywire...or something like that. But the volunteer members of the Meridian Gathering & Resource Center are out to guarantee that the plans they’ve set forth for the center come to completion. They are members of the Twenty Six Eight Church, the mission of which revolves around Isaiah 26:8: “Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desires of our hearts.”

The “theme verse” for the center is: “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:35-36 NIV).

Current center leadership includes: Todd Baker, Legal Clinic; Melissa Baker, Life Management Classes; Faith Boyd, Faith Community Nurse; Jazmine Martin, After School Programs; Atalie Snyder, Communications and Community Liaison; and others, adding up to eight volunteers in all. The center is located at 237 E. State Ave. in the town known as “the boomtown of Idaho” or “the center of the Treasure Valley”: Meridian.

“We offer support for marginalized people with low incomes in Meridian,” Boyd said. “We also want to ‘live life together,’ not just in a building once a week. We want to walk with them.”

Though help from Baker, Boyd, and others is practical in nature, there is something even larger at work. “The No. 1 thing is to build relationship,” Boyd said, explaining it’s not just relationships with center staff but with others who come to the center and its activities – and of course, a relationship with the Lord, as all roads lead to that.

“Our services are a doorway,” he said. “We have conversations about Jesus,” and all staff members are very open about their faith.

Some of the experiences members have had with the public include:

• Baker worked with a recent client who came in with a legal question. When they were done, he asked her if she wanted prayer; she said no, not then, face-to-face, but that it was okay for him to pray for her after she had gone – and she’s coming back later for more help.

Another woman came to him who had moved to the Treasure Valley with her husband and son. The family spent all their money on a home and hired a landscaper to fix up the property. But the landscaper didn’t complete the work he committed to but nonetheless charged the family for it. When they didn’t pay, he filed a lien on the family’s home. Baker helped the woman file a letter to the landscaper and his attorney, and the lien was lifted. Now, the woman, who is originally from Barcelona, Spain, is joining the center as an interpreter. “She’s working with us – she got help and wants to pay it back,” said Baker.

• Everyone who volunteers at the center has a similarly upbeat story. Snyder said: “A young man who had lived a troubled life came to us wanting community. He eventually

14 March / April 2023 | Christian Living A PLACE for community
Faith Boyd tests the heart rate of a client at the Meridian Gathering & Resource Center. Boyd worked as a nurse for many years and has now been certified through the Faith Community Nursing program. She is one of eight volunteers serving the Meridian community. (Photo submitted by Atalie Snyder at MGRC)

got into church, got saved, and got training and a job through another member of the church.”

• Boyd stated: “We want to fix it [when people come to us with a problem], but sometimes people just want to be acknowledged.” To be listened to with respect is a powerful need in many folks.

At present, the law and nursing clinics are appointmentbased only, but the center is working on expanding.

“We’re extending our relationship to the neighborhood as well,” Snyder said. The center hosts dinners, cleans yards, and invites people to its game nights, movie nights, pancake feeds, and more. “This is a space for community.”

Taking its outreach to the neighborhood a step further, a youth group completed a survey to assess what concerns people in the area thought most important. That included good roads, nearby construction, and their children’s safety.

“We reached out to the mayor,” Snyder said; and Meridian’s mayor, Robert Simison, listened to the MGRC representatives and took the needs of the center’s surrounding neighbors under consideration.

The center works in conjunction with area non-profits, strengthening its ties to others who might help its clients. Then, the volunteers remain with the clients as they go through the next action steps. “We walk with people through the process of finding help, not just giving them a number to call,” Snyder said.

For all the things that are happening currently at the center, there are plans in the works for more, such as a summer camp for kids in the near future; a mental health component to the

Faith Community Nursing program; and working to be a prototype for similar centers in other communities. “We want to see this in every city,” Snyder said.

They also want to be a voice in the current housing crisis, and center staff attended a housing symposium in January.

Baker is working on plans for connecting with business owners in Meridian to open up employment opportunities for people in need. He will do this in conjunction with Steve Meistrell, the Leadership and Oversight Director of the center and a pastor and business owner. Job skills classes are on the drawing board, and Boyd and Meistrell will seek to enlist Christian business owners who can help provide the skills and the work, as well as discipleship opportunities.

Boyd’s future plans include uniting with mid-level health care providers, such as physicians’ assistants and nurse practitioners, who might have the time to work with her and her clients to help patients better understand their medical issues.

The church that the Meridian Gathering & Resource Center is in was built 15 years ago, and MGRC has been leasing the property for roughly nine months now. Services are still offered in the chapel part of the building.

Boyd said: “We all have those stories where the door of the center was open and someone walked in needing help.” The center will not stop helping those in need, including the vulnerable, the marginalized, immigrants, women, youth, the disabled – anyone. They look to Jesus’s example to guide them.

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Choose faithfulness in your marriage

Walking past Victoria’s Secret in the local mall, I heard this brief and beautiful interaction between a father and his young daughter: “Don’t look, daddy!” “Ohhh, thank you, honey! I sure won’t—don’t you worry. I only look at your mama like that.” This precious little 5-year-old girl was already being taught the importance of her daddy being faithful to her mommy. I love that she was given the blessing of helping keep daddy accountable in his journey.

Dads, brothers, uncles, and all men, please know that the girls in your life are all watching what you’re watching, listening to, and participating in—and how you’re responding to it. I know a fifth-grade girl who found a magazine her dad purchased that had explicit drawings of nude women. Heartbroken, she confronted him and asked him why he had it. His uncomfortable response: “Oh…I uh…just wanted to learn to draw.” Yeah, she didn’t believe him, either, and it forever tainted her trust in her father. (Of course, we know this is true of either gender.)

[Cornell Law’s website defines pornography as: material that depicts nudity or sexual acts for the purpose of sexual stimulation. It can take the form of photographs, videos, written material, audio recordings, or animation, among other media formats.]

Having coached individuals in over 30 countries, I’ve heard horrific stories of devastating treatment from both genders. One of my client’s parents handed her over to Charles Manson when she was a young teen. Fortunately, God rescued her and even used her in a mighty way with her testimony, helping convict Manson and put him in prison.

We’ve all seen the devastation that comes with any kind of addiction. Pornography is one of Satan’s most effective tools to ruin lives, marriages, families, churches, and communities around the globe. Some attempt to excuse it by implying it’s not hurting anyone else. That’s pure foolishness. What the heart wants, the mind justifies—or attempts to. It’s proven, even by the non-religious, to be one of the most destructive habits, compulsions, or addictions there is. Like acid that eats away at its own container, pornography distorts reality and destroys the one holding it. Then the domino-effect leaves their personal and professional relationships in ruins. Most of us have seen this devastation firsthand. If you’re one of the few who have not, with just a click of a button you’ll see the horrific devastation sex-trafficking has had on countless innocent children all around the world.

This personal example happened over 20 years ago, but the fallout continues: “Ohhh, Joan, I don’t know what to do…I can’t…” The rest was inaudible because she was crying so hard. “Laurie, what’s wrong? What’s happened? Is it the kids?” I asked

in a panic. “No, I found out he’s…” more uncontrolled sobs. “Are you home?” I asked, “I’m coming over!” I dropped everything and minutes later arrived to find her crumpled on the kitchen floor, rocking back and forth, and wailing so hard I just knew someone must have died.

To her, someone had—she had just discovered her husband’s infidelity and later found his pornography. If she were here, she would tell you that that was the day the relationships in her life that mattered most crumbled away.

Growing up, Laurie had experienced major traumas, and her stepfather did evil, unimaginable things—physical, mental, emotional, and sexual abuse. As a result, she chose to leave home in her mid-teens and ended up getting involved in drugs and prostitution. Though you wouldn’t know who she is, please be assured that everything I share about her are things she publicly spoke of and gave me her blessing to share, because she wanted God to get ALL the glory for rescuing her from it all. When she asked Jesus to be her Savior and gave her life to Christ, nothing was the same. When she shared her testimony, her gratitude ran so deep, she would weep, saying, “Look what Jesus saved me from! That’s why I serve Him!”

It’s impossible to describe the depth of Laurie’s devastation when this man she desperately loved, the man who had committed in his marriage vows to become one with her—to love, honor and cherish her until death—rejected her for another. In Laurie’s mind, that was even more proof (added to her childhood traumas) that she wasn’t good enough.

In her desperate desire to get back what she was losing, Laurie briefly lost sight of her confidence in the Lord’s leading and began down the slippery slope of compromise by participating with her husband in the same self-destructive addictions that initially tore them apart. They would both tell you they lost everything that mattered! When one person compromises, everyone loses!

I’ve met thousands of people who regret having lowered their standards—compromising—even briefly. Conversely, I’ve never met anyone who regrets maintaining high standards. A moment of pleasure is never worth a lifetime of pain. Never!

Friends, please know this isn’t about anyone wagging a finger of shame. It’s a loving, compassionate encouragement for anyone struggling in this—or any area—to know that you have hope for victory. God promises it!

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith. –1 John 5:4

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. –Phil. 4:13

16 March / April 2023 | Christian Living
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Every day we all struggle with living in a human body with human frailties and temptations. It’s simply the human condition.

For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life— comes not from the Father but from the world. –1 John 2:16

But because of Christ’s work on the cross we can have victory in Jesus. God gave us His Word as a guide, an owner’s manual if you will, to know how best to live our lives. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. –John 10:10

Our Heavenly Father is not some cosmic killjoy Who just wants to keep us from having fun. The loving guidance, wisdom and standards He’s generously given are for our protection and provision so we can, indeed, enjoy that abundant life He offers!

I love the very detailed example of Joseph’s commitment to not sin against God (or his master) and to do what was right when Potiphar’s wife, day after day, was being a temptress to him (Genesis 39). Verse 12 says he left his garment in her hands and fled out of the house. Now the word flee means to run away, as from danger or evil. It’s the perfect example of deciding ahead of time how we will handle temptation when it arises. Women who are temptresses are equally accountable.

Listen, God created us with a need for community, not isolation. We all need help. We all struggle in one area or another. My friend, please don’t listen to the shaming lies of Satan who only

wants to kill, steal, and destroy everything that matters in your life. Reach out to qualified support groups (e.g., Celebrate Recovery), coaches, counselors or clergy and get whatever help you need—immediately!

Transformation Tool:

1. Proactively seek the Lord daily to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2)

2. Set up safeguards and healthy boundaries for prevention

3. Stay in community with other committed believers

4. Accountability: men to men, women to women

5. Pre-decide what you will do when tempted

From my wounded little girl heart, I can only imagine how different my childhood would have been if those who abused me had had the convictions and accountability of that daddy in the mall. I pray the Lord bless you and keep you as you fight the good fight and seek to draw ever closer to Him. He is a loving Father who has equipped and enabled you to live a life of victory in Jesus.

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History, Culture & Faith

Yale man took on the French Revolution

“All scholars are required to live a religious and blameless life according to the rules of God’s Word, diligently reading the Holy Scriptures, that fountain of truth, and constantly attending all the duties of religion, both in public and secret ... [they are also] obliged to attend Divine worship in the College Chapel on the Lord’s Day and on Days of Fasting and Thanksgiving appointed by public Authority.”

These were requirements for all students at Yale in 1787.

Founded in 1701 the objective of a Yale edu cation was for every student “to know God in Jesus Christ and answerably to lead a sober life.” Consequently Yale students learned how to pray, fast, study God’s Word, worship and evangelize. It was not uncommon for Yale students in the mid-1700s to canvas New Haven, Conn. to convert their neighbors.

Originally founded to educate clergy, the college slowly began to include humanities and sciences in its curriculum. Nevertheless until 1899 every president of Yale was an ordained minister.

One of those presidents was Rev. Timothy Dwight IV. In 1795 he was elected the eighth leader of Yale. He served the institution for over two decades, tripling the student body and adding new academic departments in medicine, law, geology, and chemistry.

Dwight came from good pastoral stock. His grandfather was Jonathan Edwards, the famed preacher of the Great Awakening. His leadership at Yale pioneered early missionary movements. He lobbied for women’s education. His students included Samuel Morse (inventor of the telegraph) and Lyman Beecher, a renowned minister and the father of Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Dwight was a Yale man himself (graduating in 1769 at age 17). Two years later he was ordained into ministry and eventually served as a chaplain for the Continental Army. Between 1783 and 1795, Dwight pastored the Congregational Church at Greenfield Hill in Fairfield, Conn.

When he took the helm of Yale in 1795, the “cult of reason” (or the French Enlightenment) was at its zenith. Many Yale students were enamored with the secular philosophies, but Timothy Dwight was not. He took on the enlightened ideas of his day through persuasive argument.

On July 4, 1798, President Dwight gave an address titled “The Duty of Americans at the Present Crisis.” It was a stinging indictment upon the French Revolution and their “woke” secular culture. Dwight highlighted how the infidel Voltaire orchestrated a plan in 1728 to convert Christian France into a secular state. Voltaire so hated Christianity, Dwight shared, that he “formed a systematical design to destroy Christianity... [and] introduce...irreligion and atheism.”

By the late 1700s, Voltaire’s atheist blueprint had reimagined France, but not for the better. It was now a cultural sewer. The French were so blinded by ignorance, pleasure,

and atheism they conducted a “Reign of Terror” that slaughtered over 340,000 people. That’s the legacy of secularism, Dwight preached.

Dwight outlined Voltaire’s progressive plan to eradicate French Christianity:

1. INFECT THE ARTS. In writing, art and music render Christianity “absurd and ridiculous.” Mock religion, morality, and virtue. Because music can move a people, use it to introduce new philosophy and theology. Create a fresh cultural tolerance to the profane.

2. UNDERMINE RELIGIOUS ORDER. Using political and judicial means, erode the religious foundation of the State (in the case of 18th century France it meant dissolving Roman Catholic influences). Employ progressive and liberal theology to serve the secular narrative until these entities are no longer needed (then remove them too).

3. CONVERT THE ACADEMY. Establish a new generation of “philosophists” (professors) to inculcate the emerging generations with secular, irreligious, anti-Christian ideas. Then weaponize science, literature and history against the Bible and Christianity. The process begins in the university and seeps into all schools.

4. CREATE A CULTURE OF “WOKENESS.” When these indoctrinated generations come of age, move them into political, social, and ecclesiastical “awareness” against older generations. These “enlightened youth” will dictate what’s “correct.” Devolve society into an “honor/shame” culture. Force people to obey the “narrative” (to be accepted and celebrated) or be shamed and eliminated. Make everything about fear.

5. USE MEDIA AS A TOOL. Create additional doubt, contempt, and division through books (the media of Voltaire’s day). Overwhelm the masses with the (desired) narrative. Emphasize feelings over facts. Shut down opposing views. Never let a good crisis go to waste. Again, make everything about fear to control reactions.

6. EMPLOY DECEPTION TO CONFUSE AND CONTROL. Voltaire created a “secret Academy” that doctored books, even forged them after an author’s death, to further his secular narrative. He focused on revising and erasing history. These books were then widely circulated at low prices.

Timothy Dwight then pointed out the consequences of French secularism. Terror reigned. Falsehood ruled. Immorality prevailed. Religion was segregated and silenced. Murder. Violence. Theft. Greed. Infidelity. Sexual perversion. Profanity. Atheism.

This was Voltaire’s wish, and it became France’s fruit.

Dwight concluded with a warning to Americans as they celebrated their July 4 independence in 1798:

“Religion and liberty are the meat and the drink of the body politic. Withdraw one of them and it languishes, consumes, and dies. If indifference...becomes the prevailing character of a people...their motives to vigorous defense is lost, and the hopes of their enemies are proportionally

18 March / April 2023 | Christian Living
Timothy Dwight IV

increased ...Without religion we may possibly retain the freedom of savages, bears, and wolves, but not the freedom of New England. If our religion were gone, our state of society would perish with it and nothing would be left which would be worth defending.”

Does Your Estate Plan Protect Your Family?

Evidently Rev. Timothy Dwight’s admonitions worked and his apologetic for historic Christianity persuaded his students. During his 22 years at Yale, over a third of the student body converted to Christianity and one in ten entered the ministry.

Dr. Rick Chromey

A Yale professor named Benjamin Silliman observed Yale’s religiosity under Dwight: “It would delight your heart to see how the trophies of the cross are multiplied in this institution. Yale College is a little temple: prayer and praise seem to be the delight of the greater part of the students.”

Timothy Dwight IV.

Educator. Clergy. Theologian. Author.

And now you know the rest of HIStory. n

Dr. Rick Chromey helps people interpret history, navigate culture, and explore faith. He’s an author, historian, professor, and founder/president of MANNA! Educational Services International. Rick and his wife Linda live in Star, ID. Rick is available to speak and train for your next event. Readers are also invited to subscribe to the Morning MANNA! inspirational and educational (M-F) email. Please visit:


“The Duty of Americans, at the Present Crisis, Illustrated in a Discourse, Preached on the Fourth of July 1798” by the Reverend Timothy Dwight, D.D., President of Yale College (New Haven: Thomas and Samuel Green Printers, 1798). Available for download at Google Books.

Image: By John Trumbull - [1], Public Domain, index.php?curid=13262437

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Bob & Terri Anderson: In business


Heritage: noun - something that is handed down from the past, as a tradition

Bob and Terri Anderson never doubted God was looking out for them. The Andersons own Heritage Reflections, a handcrafted legacy furniture store at 3175 E. Copper Point Dr. in Meridian. They are more than entrepreneurs. They are also profound believers; and, in fact, they don’t doubt for a minute that God led them to Boise and the business.

“The Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” — Joshua 1:9

Their story starts way back east in New England, where they were born and raised and where they met one another at Gordon College, a Christian college in Wenham, Mass. Marriage came first and then careers. They eventually moved to Arizona, where Bob ran an L.L Bean store for 10 years. The hot Arizona

sun led the couple to consider a move to the Pacific Northwest, and they narrowed it down to three locations, including Boise.

“I talked to 30 people and told them the three choices we’d narrowed it down to, and 27 people out of 30 had a connection to Boise and told me how much they loved it,” Bob said.

So the Andersons took that as a nudge from God that their next move, literally, was to the so-called City of Trees. But their first experiences here were a tad rocky.

“We bought a home,” Bob said, “but we had no jobs and no friends. It was 2011, and we couldn’t get a job – they wouldn’t hire us.”

Both Terri and Bob earned teaching degrees in college; after the move to Boise, Bob eventually got a modest-paying substitute teaching position at Lake Hazel Elementary, while Terri found work at Heritage Reflections. While Bob’s work was inadequate at best, Terri fell in love with her job at the furniture store, to the point she even lost interest in returning to academia.

20 March / April 2023 | Christian Living
Bob and Terri Anderson stand in their store surrounded by furniture made by their Amish craftsmen. The couple felt led by God to move to Idaho; but in the beginning, it was a slow and difficult process for them to figure out why. The answer turned out to be a well-known business in Meridian. (Photo by Drew Brwon)

business with God and the Amish

But one day, Terri came home in tears. The owner had decided to close the store. At first, he had also told her he was not interested in selling the store to anybody. It looked like the end of a very brief era for Terri’s foray into the furniture trade.

Bob admits that his faith, while still strong, was a little bruised at that point. He assured his wife that God was in control, but he later prayed, “I trust You, but can You give me a clue?” A clue as to their next move, a hint as to why He had brought them to the Treasure Valley.

A phone call changed everything.

“The phone rings on my lunch break and I see Terri’s photo,” Bob said. “I answer the phone and say, ‘Hey, honey, how’s it going?’”

Bob’s acute sense of humor leads him to explain the rest of the conversation this way:

“She answers, ‘Great’ and then says four words that put fear in men’s hearts: ‘I have an idea’. … She then said, ‘We should buy Heritage Reflections.’ After I got up off the ground, I remembered when I had said I would never own another business in my life. And when you say ‘I will never’ to God, He has a good laugh. My first thought [to Terri’s suggestion] was ‘No way,’ but I replied, ‘We’ll pray about that, honey’.”

Pray they did, and Bob explains that he started praying in a sort of Gideon fashion, as in Judges 36-38. “Gideon said to God, ‘If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised – look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said.’ And that is what happened. Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew – a bowlful of water.”

No fleece or dew were involved, but Bob nonetheless knew that purchasing Heritage Reflections was in the couple’s future. The original owner had even come around and told Terri he would sell the store after all – but only to her.

The Andersons contacted Bob’s dad, an experienced entrepreneur himself, and sought his advice. He agreed to come to Boise and, together, the three of them would visit a law firm and draw up a deal. The biggest catch was that the paperwork had to be completed in a week for the deal to go through.

Bob explained: “We’re sitting in a giant room and Frederick, the head and founder of the law firm, walks in. Dad tells him, ‘We need the paperwork drawn up by Friday’ and Frederick tells him, ‘No way – this will take 2 to 3 weeks; it can’t be done’.”

Bob’s father decides to hang around for a week, thinking he may need to return to Boise at a later date. But by Friday afternoon, the lawyers call and say, “We’re actually ready.”

Ownership of Heritage Reflections was only a few signatures away. When everyone was gathered at the law firm, Frederick tells Bob, “I’ve been in law for 50 years and I have never seen paperwork go through that fast, and I never expect to see it again.”

Bob looked at the ceiling and said to God with a smile, “‘Okay, now You’re just showing off’ – He can get paperwork done in one week!”

On February 23, 2013, the Andersons walked into their newly acquired store, kneeled, and Bob prayed, “‘If this succeeds, praise God; and if it fails, praise God’. I gave the Holy Spirit any credit for the success of the store, and we considered it God’s business.”

The original owner had held a 50% off sale, and inventory flew

out the door. For a while after the Andersons became its proprietors, people would walk into the near empty store and ask if it was still open for business.

“For the first few months,” Bob stated, “we just didn’t have much inventory, and we had about 300 to 400 dollars in the bank, and we would come up short on a bill.”

Terri said she would tell her husband that a bill was coming due, and they needed to pray over it.

The Andersons’ faith was rewarded. Money came in through a few sales, and piece by piece, Bob and Terri began to fill the store with new inventory. The uniqueness of Heritage Reflections is in where its furniture comes from. It is painstakingly handmade in Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Ohio by more than 100 families that belong to and adhere to the Amish sect and its way of life.

“What’s neat with the Amish, what separates them, is their motivation,” Bob said. “Most businesses just want to have their profits high and their costs low. But the Amish are motivated by their beliefs: do all as unto God. There’s no cutting corners. They use the best wood, the best stain, the finest lacquer.”

In fact, according to Bob, they don’t scrimp on anything. He tells the story of a skilled local furniture repairman named Paul, an employee of McDowells Furniture Repair in Boise, who came to the store to fix a minor scuff on a piece of furniture. Paul rubbed the surface of the furniture with his hands and studied its foundation. Then he got on his back and looked at the bottom of the piece. He gave it a thorough examination, even opening up drawers, and he turned to Bob and said, “These are the best gears you can buy, the best screws – this is REAL furniture.”

Bob and Terri are undeniably proud of what they sell. It could all just be considered bragging for the sake of sales if not for the fact that both the Amish and the Andersons are in business to glorify and please God, and Bob doesn’t hesitate to give credit to his Lord and his craftsmen. He stated that if anyone were to ask the Amish why they go to so much trouble to make the inside of drawers or the bottom of a table – things a customer wouldn’t see without a thorough inspection like Paul’s – with the same care they give to what a customer CAN see, they’d answer, “Because God sees it.”

“They use gorgeous wood,” he said. “A person could buy a piece of furniture today and 200 years from now, future family members could own it and say, ‘That belonged to our greatgreat-grandfather’ – the quality is that good.”

The Amish, he said, must make a profit like everyone else, but not at the expense of quality.

Bob and Terri travel to trade shows put on by the Amish and, true to tradition, the Amish craftsmen dress in ancestral attire and arrive by horse and buggy. They’re the real thing, not Amish knockoffs, and their furniture is as genuine as they are. The Andersons attended a trade show in January and will attend another this March. They’ve built friendships with the families they work with to stock their store. “We visit the families; we know their kids. We have dinner with them, and we have developed personal relationships with them,” said Bob.

The Andersons have known hardship and heartbreak in life. But their faith will withstand the test of time, for their belief is that God did not fail them in the move to Boise and the purchase of Heritage Reflections, and that He has never failed them. The Andersons and the Amish are in sync with doing everything to His glory. n Christian Living | March / April 2023 21

Even a one-day fast can help your body

Doing a one-day fast each week is a great idea to help your body get time to heal and repair. Fasting has been a healing ritual me and my family have used, but I also recommend this practice to many of my patients to help restore their body’s health and healing for wellness; it is also good for patients with chronic inflammation that produces diseases like cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

I recommend that you create a one-day fasting ritual to stay consistent. If you are already observing Sabbath or have a Monday to Friday work schedule, the weekend may be the best time. However, if that doesn’t work with your personal schedule, you may choose any other day. I recommend that you try to keep it consistent each week; it can also help you implement it when you are traveling.

Along with consistency, you may also want to add some other practices during this one-day fast. Slowing down, stretching, meditation, journaling, time in nature, reducing stress, reducing time spent with technology, reading, gratitude, and prayer are all fantastic ideas to support body, mind, and soul rest and healing.

If your entire family or part of your family is fasting together, you may develop some rituals together. Even if the others don’t take a one-day fast, you may still all engage in some mutual restful activities such as a family walk in nature.

To truly honor our body’s need for rest and repair, taking a Sabbath from food is a fantastic idea. A one-day fast can allow your body to rest and heal while also allowing time for emotional healing, spiritual contemplation, and getting closer to God. It helps you experience the health benefits of fasting and intermittent fasting you’ve just learned about.

While Sabbath is a fantastic time to try a one-day fast, to take a Sabbath from food, if it is not the best day for your schedule, you may choose any other day that works for you. No matter when you decide to take a one-day fast, your body, mind, and soul will thank you.

How to do a one-day fast: The are several ways to try a one-day fast, depending on your health, fasting experience, personal goals, and schedule.

22- to 24-hour fast: Taking a 22- to 24-hour fast is a true one-day fast when you are fasting for 22 to 24 hours. You may try a lunch to lunch or a dinner to dinner approach. With the lunch to lunch one-day fast, you can stop eating after lunch and not eat for 22 to 24 hours until lunch the next day.

With a dinner to dinner approach, you may stop eating after dinner and not eat until dinner the next day – 22 to 24 hours

later. Which approach to choose is your choice depending on your personal preference or schedule. I do a 22- to 24-hour fast each week on Saturday’s and I often do two of them, one on Saturday and one on Wednesday. Sunday is typically our feast day, where we eat a higher amount of calories and carbs than we normally do.

36- to 42-hour fast: Trying a 36- to 42-hour fast is more than a one-day fast and is a great idea if you have already done – and done well – on a 22- to 24-hour fast. This one-day fast, or rather, 1½-day fast, involves three days total. On day one, you still eat dinner but stop eating after. You will be fasting all day on day two.

You will continue fasting on day three until lunch and conclude this more than one-day fast with lunch on day three. This is a great opportunity to prepare your body for extended fasting if that’s your goal in the future.

5:2 fasting: The 5:2 fasting method involves two one-day fasts each week. If you feel good at doing a one-day fast, you may also enjoy doing two 24- to 40-hour fasts each week.

You may do two one-day fasts, 24 hours each, or you may go straight to two days with a 40-hour fast once a week. I feel my best when I do two 24-hour fasts each week. I recommend that you experiment and see what works for your body.

What I allow on the one-day fast: If you are ready to embark on a one-day fast, you may wonder what’s allowed. Taking a one-day fast obviously means no eating for 22 to 24 hours. However, non-caloric liquids are allowed. It is important that you start your day with 32 ounces of clean water and continue drinking plenty of water throughout the day to allow detoxification and hydration.

Herbal tea and black coffee are also allowed. However, since coffee is a stimulant, it is good from time to time to fast from caffeine as well. I also recommend adding apple cider vinegar or lemon or lime juice to your water for extra cleansing and alkalizing benefits. If you are feeling low on energy, you can add a pinch of salt to your water or drink a bit of pickle juice for electrolytes.

Should you exercise on the one-day fast?: I recommend moving your body during the one-day fast. However, it is also important that you wait until the very end of the fast if you want to do high-intensity training or resistance training.

This can be a powerful way to build lean body tissue and burn fat because your human growth hormone levels will be at their highest. During your actual fast, stretching, light walks, or low-impact exercises, such as yoga, may be a good idea.

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Best way to break your one-day fast: I recommend that you initially break the oneday fast with some fermented food, bone broth, or a protein shake. I understand that you may be hungry and ready for something more substantial than a shake. If you are going to eat a normal dinner, no problem; but it is still a good idea and beneficial to your body to include some fermented foods or have some water with apple cider vinegar about 15 minutes before the meal to support your digestion and metabolism. You can also consider adding some digestive enzymes and HCL (hydrochloric acid) to support optimal digestion.

Of course, it is also important that you eat anti-inflammatory, nutrient-dense real food such as greens, vegetables, low-glycemic index fruits, healthy fats, and clean protein, when you break your fast, as well as on your non-fasting days, and stay away from refined sugar, refined oils, high-carb meals, artificial ingredients, processed foods, and junk food.

Who should not do a one-day fast?: As great as a one-day fast is for the majority of the population, there are obviously certain cases where I do not advocate doing this long of a fast.

These cases include: individuals with eating disorders; pregnant women and newborns; young children; individuals with type 1 diabetes; extreme athletes who are in training season; individuals who are severely underweight; and individuals who are on medications (especially diabetes medication, anti-seizure meds and corticosteroids, as these can impact blood sugar levels).

In some of these cases, fasting can be extremely helpful, but it needs to be done with caution and a with trained health care practitioner. An example of this would be an overweight pregnant woman who is at risk for preeclampsia. Intermittent fasting for 16-18 hours and perhaps even up to as much as 20-24 hours could help to improve her blood sugar, blood pressure and make the internal environment safer for the baby. But again, this needs to be done with a trained health care practitioner. n

If you have questions or need more information, text Rosie Main at (208) 859-6170 or email her at

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Pray for and bless your pastor and family

You may assume by their demeanor in the pulpit that the life of a pastor is one of constant optimism and hope. Not true. Pastors and their families are just like you. They battle disappointments, financial hardships, health issues, and exhaustion. They also carry the burdens of their flock and the weight of responsibility in caring for the church they pastor. Praying for and finding ways to bless them is incredibly important – for the health of their family and the health of the church.

It’s been said, “every pastor wants to resign on Monday,” meaning Satan works overtime to discourage a pastor about the most important job each week: preaching God’s Word. Believe it or not, there’s a lot of angst surrounding those weekly sermons. After pouring so much time and prayer into a sermon, pastors can feel overwhelmed with doubt and worry; it can eat on them for days. Feedback is rare, unless it’s negative. So, a blessing, in the simplest sense, is encouragement.

Now, how that encouragement is delivered looks a bit different for each person.

My husband, Mike, and I pastored three churches, so I’m well aware of the many ways blessings take shape. For our first associate-pastor position, we served in a farming community in Colorado. Teaching school and helping Mike in the youth ministry left little time to plant and harvest a garden. (Okay, full disclosure: I have a black thumb; gardening tends to be an exercise in futility.) But we would come home from church to find produce piled anonymously on our porch: a bushel of washed-and-snapped green beans ready for the canner; peaches and apples ready for the freezer; enough tomatoes to make salsa for the entire year. In the fall we received venison from hunters; in the winter, we reaped fish from the old codgers who spent their retirement days ice fishing. Seemingly simple gestures, yet they had a profound impact. They reminded us that we were not alone.

I put the title of this article, “How to Pray for and Bless your Pastor and Family,” as a question on all the pastor-wives blogs

to which I subscribe and they shared the considerations they experienced that were a blessing to them:

1. Pray for your pastor. Pray for physical and emotional strength. Pray for a hunger for God that would deepen his spiritual walk. Pray against the enemy’s attacks: discouragement and pride. Pray that his heart would remain pure and he would not stray into traps set for him.

2. Pray for the pastor’s wife. Pray for his wife, for patience, for wisdom and boundaries. Pray for friends to come alongside her and encourage and lift her up.

3. Pray for the pastor’s children. Pray for godly friends who would help them resist common teen temptations. Pray for their relationship with God, that they would understand that as PKs they don’t have an automatic pass to heaven.

4. Attend services regularly. Nothing eats away at a pastor’s self-confidence more than his parishioners believing that everything in their life is more important than attending church. And volunteering in some capacity will really encourage him as well.

5. Respect his day off. Unless it is truly an emergency, and no other staff member to call, do not contact him about anything.

6. Include them. If your pastor doesn’t live close to their family members, remember to include them at holidays.

7. Don’t gossip. Don’t listen to gossip, don’t pass it around.

8. Share your good news. Pastors are interested in what’s happening in your life and delighted to celebrate with you.

9. Involve your family. Teaching your children to serve is very important in Christian discipline. Could your teen mow the lawn or shovel snow for the pastor? Learning to serve is a joy to both those serving and those receiving. Does your pastor have young children? Maybe you could offer to babysit during the multitude of after-hour engagements they attend. Paying for babysitters is a huge budget consideration.

10. Appreciation. October is National Pastor Appreciation Month in the U.S. Contact a board member to encourage

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them to honor the pastor and his family during this month.

11. Notes. Write a personal note of encouragement. Include a gift card for coffee or a lunch somewhere.

12. Gift cards. Speaking of gift cards, in today’s economy, consider giving a gas or grocery gift card. Pastors put a lot of miles on their vehicles visiting parishioners and attending meetings. If your pastor’s family is hospitable, then a grocery gift card would be an appropriate choice.

13. Don’t forget the pastor’s kids. PKs would enjoy coffee or McDonald’s gift cards for no reason except to say you love them. Teenage PKs often experience depression with their fishbowl lifestyle, and your encouraging gesture could be the impetus that will help them keep making good choices.

14. Special days. Remember the family members’ birthdays and send a card and note of encouragement.

15. Drop expectations. Do NOT put unrealistic expectations on the family or their children. Turn your head when a PK needs discipline and allow their parents to deal with their behavior. The best gift is to openly love and accept their children for who they are – no judging.

16. Share your blessings. If you have unused entertainment opportunities, share them. In one of our churches a couple had season tickets to the philharmonic. Any time they were unable to attend they offered us their seats. Dressing up, dinner out and then a concert made a wonderful date night. Have an unused football ticket or movie pass? Offer it to your pastor. If he plays golf, offer to take him and pay for the green fees.

17. Friendship. Invite your pastor’s wife out to lunch as your guest and to an exhibit at your local museum or a play or movie.

18. Hospitality. Invite the whole family over for dinner and game night. Just a fun time of relaxation. Do not use this time to push the pastor about something in the church.

19. Vacation. Make sure the pastor and family take a yearly vacation. Share your timeshare or cabin or offer gas cards to help with travel costs.

20. Share family fun. Most pastoral families don’t have extra funds. If your family enjoys activities such as boating or swimming in which you can include them – or at least their kids – do so.

21. Encourage. Make it a goal to send a personal note of encouragement to each member of the family during the year. You do not have to include a gift – except for toddlers, they will need stickers. Affirming words are healing. Mark Twain said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.”

Janice Hildreth is an Idaho native, retired pastor’s wife, and author. She is the author of two Q&A books and the first four books of a seven-part inspirational romance series set in the Pacific Northwest. You can purchase her books on Amazon. She has ministered to pastors’ wives for over two decades with her blog She retired from the Idaho Statesman after 20 years. She and her husband live in Emmett, Idaho and enjoy every minute they get to spend with family, especially the grandchildren. Christian Living | March / April 2023 25 Experienced Mortgage Professional KEN YODER Branch Manager | NMLS# 259650 Over 30 Years Of Experience Not a commitment to lend. Rates and Terms subject to change without notice. Licensed by the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Residential Mortgage Act No. 4130968; AL #22653; AZ #1015403; Colorado regulated by the Division of Real Estate; DE #019623; FL #MLD819; Georgia Residential Mortgage Licensee #20924; ID #MBL-5861; Kansas Licensed Mortgage Company #MC.0025601; KY #MC701698; MD:#16927; Mississippi Licensed Mortgage Company Licensed by the Mississippi Department of Banking and Consumer Finance; Licensed by the NJ Department of Banking and Insurance; NC: L-152867; NV: #3681; OK: #ML012358; Licensed by the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation #ML-3808; PA: #37008; TN: #112513; Licensed by the Virginia State Corporation Commission #MC-5579; WV: #ML-31523/MB31759. NMLS #1141 RELOCATION SPECIALIST. PURCHASE AND REFINANCE. Let’s Talk 208.965.8704 661.810.5283 1105 2nd St. S, Suite 100, Office #112 Nampa, ID 83651 Licensed in ID, OR, WA, CA, NV and AZ
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YOUR Daily Bread

Are your finances in keeping with your faith?

Springtime is coming! As we shake off the winter blues, we look forward to warmer weather that brings new life to plants and trees as well as outdoor activities. However, it also means the dreaded tax time. Every year, as I gather my financial information to prepare my tax return, I ask myself, “Where did all my money go?” Tax time is a good time to look back at what you earned and spent and ask yourself, “Are my finances in keeping with my faith?”

At the end of each year, we receive a W-2 (or similar tax form) from our employer, showing how much income we received during the year. We have worked hard for that money. But we should remember that our ability to earn money is given to us by God. In Deuteronomy, Moses wrote:

“My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me. But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.” –Deuteronomy 8:17–18 (NIV)

God not only provides us with the ability to earn an income, but He also provides us with ways to enjoy the fruits of our toil. All the worldly possessions we receive during our lifetime are blessings from God, who has entrusted us to manage them. God entrusts us to be good stewards with our finances for which He has blessed us.

People often comment that financial stewardship must come easy to me because I am an accountant. However, there is a huge difference between being a good money manager and achieving financial stewardship. While I am still learning, here is what I have discovered:

1. Recognize that your income is a blessing from God. He has entrusted you to use your money wisely to serve Him. He wants you to achieve a balance between giving, saving and

spending so that you do not become a slave to money. Attain this balance through prayer.

2. Give to support God’s work. Start with what you can contribute today and strive to increase your giving to a full tithe or more. 2 Corinthians 9:7 states we should give what we have decided in our heart to give. I believe this is encouraging us to exceed our giving above tithing, not less.

3. Create a spending plan that focuses on your true needs. Allocate an amount for giving and saving first. Also, include an amount for unforeseen expenses that may occur.

4. Prayerfully consider every major purchase. Before shopping, determine how much you are able to pay and stick with it. I maintain a savings fund that I contribute to each month for replacing my auto. When it comes time to trade vehicles, I have a set amount of cash available. This eliminates the temptation to pay too much and reduces the stress of negotiating since I have an established amount to pay.

5. Be careful with debt. Not all debt is bad. Very few people purchase a home without a mortgage. However, your mortgage payments should not exceed 25% of your income. If it does, you are buying a home that you cannot afford. If you use credit cards, pay them off monthly. If you are carrying a credit card balance, then you are spending beyond your means.

You can find a lot of money handling advice in books, magazines, television and on the internet. However, the best advice can be found in reading the Bible and praying to God for guidance. Even the smartest accountant cannot stack up to these resources! n

Terry Frisk is a retired business financial advisor. He also counsels individuals on personal financial matters through the Cathedral of the Rockies Budget Coaching ministry. He can be contacted through e-mail at

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Christians in Pakistan face discrimination

Editor’s note: Stephen Silas Gill is a resident of Lahore, Pakistan, and an avid reader of Christian Living Magazine. Gill was eager to be a part of the publication and was invited to submit an article on what it’s like being a believer of Jesus in his homeland. The following is the article he submitted on that topic, and it is an eye-opener for those of us living in the U.S.

As the headline says, “Living in poverty – Christians in Pakistan,” I will elaborate on the details and the hardships these people face in their lives. This article is all about the pain and suffering of Christians in Pakistan. I will explain the hardships of Christians in detail.

I understand how poor people feel because I don’t just see them in trouble; I can feel how they deal with it. I’m 25 years old now, and I started observing things and keeping them in my intellect when I was a kid in school. I am glad and thankful that it didn’t break me. I am praising the Lord in my city of Lahore; I have the crown of eternal life.

I am always around strange people, looking for familiar faces. I only pray to the Lord; I’m not trying to show anyone my tears. I lost so many things and emotions in life. As a child, I made adult decisions. How do I know when love is real? I figured out that life is a journey that doesn’t come with road signs. I have seen the separation of my parents, and that has buried all of my dreams.

Memories have bothered me since I was a child. There are a lot of things to talk about in my life, but in this article, I’m explaining the hardships of the poor and depressed Christian community in my city. I am thankful for my life because I learned from it. Every bad moment, every single day of it, I thank God for the pain because it made me strong.

Man’s humanity ends when he begins to laugh at the sufferings of others. The human heart hurts a lot with every pain, but man learns a lot from every pain. We then turn to God when the world has rejected us. Life is a story in which you don’t get the characters you want. Life is weird; sometimes it’s like flowers, sometimes it’s like thorns. I see people struggling, working, and starving. I know how many challenges my poor Christian brothers and sisters face in Pakistan. I have seen Christians in Pakistan starving but praising God in hard situations.

I have seen some brothers start taking drugs. I am watching their parents battle with addiction. I just want to be a voice for poor and depressed Christians. If you look closely, Jesus came to be with the world’s poorest and most depressed people. When I see my Christian brothers and sisters suffering, I pray to God in silence, so no one thinks I am complaining to the Lord.

Thank God, my hardworking Christian brothers and sisters don’t believe in luck. They all believe in work, not in luck. In Pakistan, we have so many young boys and girls with precious talents. They are good in education, sports, and business. I really want to explain that the majority of Christians in Pakistan don’t get any appropriate opportunities to get a standard education. Many families go through so much pain and suffering to earn food. These families, including children, suffer a lot to earn a minimum wage.

Christian girls and boys work hard in private surgical factories. During their work, they face a lot of discrimination because of their faith in Christ. In Pakistan, more than 95% of the population is Muslim. The menial task of sweeping falls mainly on the Christian community. Street sweeping has traditionally been the job of Christians in Pakistan. Since the creation of Pakistan in 1947, notions of its uncleanliness have ensured that sanitation jobs are reserved for non-Muslims. Thousands of Christians and Hindus are our “work jars” or temporary workers. Most of them have been working for over ten years without any benefits, insurance, or pensions. More than 10,000 Christians work for the Lahore waste management company, a recently privatized venture in charge of cleaning a city of more than 12 million people, of which 2% are Christians.

Christian sweepers are discriminated against both by Muslims and by fellow Christians engaged in other professions. The work is grueling, and the sweeper wears no mask or gloves to protect him from the stinking sludge and toxic plumes of gas that lurk deep underground. The case of Christian sweepers highlights a number of issues. Many Christians feel they are left with no choice but to work as sweepers. In many cases, this occupation is passed down from generation to generation.

Christians in Pakistan are also laboring at the brick kilns. Most of the children working or living with their parents at brick kilns have no schooling and therefore cannot read or write. Desperate times call for desperate measures. They get a small loan in times of desperation from the brickyard owners. The interest is set at such a huge amount that they will never be able to repay the debt with such small earnings. So they become “bound laborers,” which usually lasts a lifetime. They will slave through some of the most intense heat waves during the summer months.

Many workers suffer from heat stroke. Temperatures are generally around 40° C (104° F). There is no escape for the brickyard slave. If they were to run away, then their family would be in great danger. Torture and murder would be the usual punishment. It is also common to be born into slavery. The children will be forced to repay the parents’ debt, brick by brick.

Pakistani Christian brick kiln slaves are also living in some of the poorest conditions in the world. Getting clean water is a daily task. The hardships that Pakistan’s Christian community are facing are caused by a lack of leadership and education; there is no one to protect their rights. The Christian members of the national and provincial assemblies get selected by the government. So that’s the reason that Christians don’t have any leadership.

These Christian members of government aren’t elected by the Christian community’s votes; all of them get selected by the majority political parties of Pakistan. The Christian members don’t talk about the challenges that minorities face; they only talk about their selectors. They don’t discuss the rights of Pakistan’s Christian community. The majority of Pakistani Christians want and are fighting for an election process for genuine Christian political leaders. The Christian community wants to elect their political Christian leaders with their votes.

The parents and community leaders have initiated school lessons on the dusty floors around the slums. Historically,

28 March / April 2023 | Christian Living LIVING in

Christians have been converted from oppressed and impoverished classes. There were no rich Hindus or rich Muslims who got converted; they were all from classes that are poor and depressed, living almost like slaves on the land of Muslim or, in past days, Hindu landlords.

In Pakistan, the Christian community doesn’t have enough sources of daily income. They are dependent on daily wages, private employment, private businesses, or private offices. Pakistan has taken a few steps to protect and empower some minorities, but the efforts have failed to help much. A bill was passed in 2009 to reserve 5% of all government jobs for nonMuslims. But over a decade later, that goal has not been reached. In Pakistan, with limited resources, providing an education for the sweepers’ children takes a backseat. Thus, the vicious circle of poverty is repeated. They haven’t sent any of their children to school because they are too poor. They are literally starving. The lack of education is the basic reason why they face a lot of challenges.

In Pakistan, Christians don’t get any appropriate opportunity to get a standard education. They don’t even have enough to eat. How is it possible for them to reach the standard level of education? Mostly in slums, Christian girls don’t see any hope of getting a proper education. They go to work instead of going to school because they know that their parents are not able to afford an education. It doesn’t mean that they don’t want to get an education, but it’s hard for them to afford it. Education is not that expensive, but still, it’s hard for some people to get it. I have been in touch with a few Christian girls in my town. They want to go to school but are unable to pay for it. There are numerous young Christian girls from slums who don’t even have enough to eat or dress.

We can make a real impact on the quality of life and education for the children living in brickyards. The children will be provided with quality educational materials to help them

learn, grow, read and write. Much-needed food and drink can be distributed to Christian brickyard children and families. Many families live on staples throughout the week, while working long, hard days. A good meal and drink can be a true blessing.

Clothing can be a problem within the brickyard communities. Some children have none at all; many children can be clothed. Also, hot weather protection such as hats will help prevent heat stroke for workers in the severe Pakistan heat. Bible distribution and evangelism throughout Pakistan is critical. Urdu-language Bibles are not cheap, but we can make a big difference. Along with receiving a foundational education, it’s crucial that students regularly receive instruction in the Bible and spirituality. “He that hath the Son hath the life; he that hath not the Son of God hath not the life” (1 John 5:12). Not only freedom through Christ, but our prayer is that we can help as many of our brothers and sisters be free from slavery also.

We can pray about their debts and free them from a life of bonded labor and hardship as brick slaves. Please pray that the exploitation of our brothers and sisters will soon come to an end. Your love, prayers, and support are required to let them know that Jesus loves them. n

Stephen Silas Gill is an author, speaker, youth leader, social worker, and volunteer. He is serving God at Smyrna Church of Pakistan. He is encouraging those believers living in nonChristian states around the world. He is inspiring and uplifting the Christians who have suffered because of their religious convictions. His small church in Pakistan is dedicated to advancing the kingdom of God. He is working to expand his ministry and spread God’s kingdom. For more information about his work, contact him at Christian Living | March / April 2023 29 Come. See. Play Everything You Need For Your: • Camping Program • Retreat • Family Reunion • Wedding • Anniversary Celebration Located On The West Side Of Beautiful Cascade Lake On West Mountain Road 208-468-8976 • Affordable Rates Reserve Today! C Come S See JOIN US Tuesdays at 7:00 am IHOP 3525 E Fairview Ave. • Meridian, ID 83642 Questions call: (208) 841-7899 & Thursdays at Noon Original Pancake House 5900 W Fairview Ave., Boise Questions call: (208) 859-6038 Fellowship of Christian Businessmen
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THE ROAD Less Traveled

‘Our story’: the power of history

The Road Less Traveled is a road that has been traveled by countless great men and women of the past. This is the power of books. This is the power of history. Through books we can walk the road less traveled and learn from the mistakes and successes of those from the past. By studying history, we can walk in the way of good men and keep the paths of the righteous. This is power of imagination. And it is sadly a road that is far less traveled.

Some people will enjoy a movie based on historical events and some might endure a documentary (both genres which I love). But you will find yourself in shrinking company when you dedicate yourself to great biographies. Biographies are a road less traveled but nonetheless a road that is wide open and beckoning to every adult and child to embark upon with the promise of knowledge and experience. Like the gleanings left by those who worked the fields of Boaz for Ruth to collect, great books are full of life lessons and truth that just lay waiting for someone to pick them up.

This is the field of our past. Our American past. The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few. So much gained and gleaned knowledge is lost to the present generation because we will not pick up what past generations have laid down for us.

If your life feels mundane, you can vicariously experience the life of a great statesman or warrior or activist through literature. Break away from the congested freeway of entertainment and punditry and take the road less traveled. Far away from the social media feeds and reels that have further eroded our attention span, there are paths marked through printed pages that offer vistas and adventure that defy the very best fiction.

This past year I read David Blight’s Pulitzer Prize-winning work, Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom. The nearly 900-page volume of research was a literary feast. From fugitive slave to the most famous orator in the United States, the story of Frederick Douglass is a story of resilience and perseverance in the face of adversity. Born and raised in slavery, Douglass was heavily influenced by black preachers and trusted Christ around the age of 15. The result of his conversion was that he “abhorred slavery more than ever,” while his “great desire … was to have the world converted.”

When he was 18 years old, Douglass escaped only to be caught and returned to slavery where he was hired out in the shipyards of Baltimore. Two years later, he successfully escaped along with his wife Anna to New Bedford, Massachusetts. In a year’s time the 21-year-old fugitive would become a licensed preacher and begin speaking on the abolitionist circuit. Mentored by fellow abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass would become an icon for the movement.

As talks of secession grew louder, people in the North became more agitated because of the economic loss and disruption. The abolitionists became scapegoats for the nation’s troubles, and Douglass often found himself in hostile territory. Because of his friendship with abolitionist leader John Brown, Douglass was charged with “murder, robbery, and inciting a servile insurrection” by the governor of Virginia. He escaped into Canada from his home in Rochester barely six hours before federal marshals arrived to arrest him. At an anti-slavery meeting outside of Indianapolis, Douglass was attacked by a mob,

clubbed unconscious and suffered a broken hand. In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, he was pelted by eggs and stones. In Boston on the first anniversary of John Brown’s execution, a mob broke into a rally at which Douglass was a keynote speaker. Douglass had to fight with his fists to get to the podium, and although he escaped unscathed, several blacks were seriously injured that evening. Throughout his travels, whether on a lecture tour or in official business of the President of the United States, Douglass was Jim Crowed more times than he could count. And yet Douglass used his adversity as fuel for his calling.

“Even as a child, Douglass learned to negotiate with and define himself by his opposition. This was a life lesson Douglass would invoke time and again later in his career, whether the enemy was a master, an overseer, a mob throwing brickbats, a stiflingly competitive fellow abolitionist, proslavery ideology, the Confederacy itself, Abraham Lincoln, or white supremacists who defined him out of the human family. Their opposition became his motive power, their arguments his own tools of counter-argument in the courts of moral justice.” (David Blight, Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom)

The life of Frederick Douglass was a road less traveled. From his escape from slavery to his advocacy as an abolitionist to his fight for Reconstruction and equality after the Civil War, Douglass chose the path of resistance.

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress,” the Sage of Cedar Hill, as Douglass came to be known, would write. “Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will.”

Douglass experienced hardship in his personal life as well, losing his daughter Annie at the age of ten and burying his namesake Fred Junior two years before his death. He would outlive his wife Anna along with five of his own grandchildren. But Douglass never lost faith in God. He didn’t allow personal tragedy, political setbacks or religious hypocrisy to cause him to deny Christ. The year 1892 saw a record number of lynchings, with 161 blacks murdered across the South. The dream of Reconstruction was a long-shattered illusion. The era of Jim Crow had begun. And yet, Douglass never lost hope. “Our situation demands faith in ourselves, faith in the power of truth, faith in work and faith in the influence of manly character. Let the truth be told, let the light be turned on ignorance and prejudice, let lawless violence and murder be exposed.”

Before his death Douglass would mentor and inspire the next generation of activists in Booker T. Washington, Ida B. Wells, and W.E.B. Du Bois. And the eventual culmination of the Civil Rights Movement and repeal of Jim Crow in America was the result of seeds first sown by brave abolitionists. The grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Douglass’s generation would march on Washington, D.C., and one hundred years after the ending of the Civil War, they would take the road less traveled over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama.

This is our story. This is the power of history. n

30 March / April 2023 | Christian Living
Jason Herring

National Day of Prayer set for May 4

The National Day of Prayer is scheduled to take place Thursday, May 4. Across the country, believers will gather to pray for the U.S., as well as their local communities and states.

Moms in Prayer Idaho will sponsor a local prayer program to be held from noon to 1 p.m. that day at the Meridian City Hall Courtyard, 33 E. Broadway Ave. Organizer Karla Slonaker stated everyone is welcome to come and participate in seven areas of prayer. Those include: Government, Military, Media, Business, Education, Church and Family. These are considered the seven centers of influence in the nation, as well as on a state and local level. The theme for the 2023 prayer event is Pray Fervently in Righteousness and Avail Much, based on James 5:16b.

“We will have local citizens lead those gathered in prayer for each of the seven areas listed on the website,” Slonaker said. “The gathering will last an hour and include some worship songs.”

For more information, go to or contact Slonaker at or 509-669-6179. n


3. James wrote, “Peacemaker s who sow in peace reap a ___ of righteousness.”

T he Book of ___ says, “But those who hope in the Lord w ill renew their st reng t h. They w ill soar on wing s like eagles ; they w ill r un and not grow wear y; they will walk and not be faint.”

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1. In
he NI V, t his adjective descr ibes King Nebuchadnezzar’s fur
2. She was
aban’s daughter, Leah’s sister, and Jacob’s second wife 4.
is : ANSWERS: 1. BLAZING (Daniel 3: 8-15) 2. RACHEL (Genesis 29: 1-30) 3. VESTHAR (James 3:18) 4. ISAIAH (Isaiah 40:31) THE WOMAN WHOSE CHILD BECAME AN ANTIMPORT BIBLE FIGURE is: ELIZABETH (Luke 1: 1-66) (her son became John the Baptist)

family tree

One earthly family’s (imperfect) example

I knew a man, let’s call him Michael for storytelling purposes, who met his biological father once when Michael was about 40 years old. The father wasn’t involved in Michael’s life. The mother (now a Christian) raised Michael with a stepfather, who became “dad.” Michael knew “dad” was not his “real” father but was never officially told until he was 16. Michael wasn’t surprised since they looked different anyway. It didn’t concern Michael emotionally because he learned something early on, that how a person treats you is more important than having common physical genetics. If only everyone knew this fundamental truth (1 Samuel 16:7).

After Michael came more kids, first a half-sister and halfbrother. Then the parents adopted Michael’s two cousins and these boys each had a different father. Neither of the cousins’ fathers nor their mother were involved in their lives (both of the cousins are Christians now). So in all, five total kids came from four fathers and two mothers. That made an interesting family tree! The awesome mom stayed true to all five children and earned deep respect after all the years. Alongside her, the stepfather “dad” was the only man around. Michael was grateful for the stepfather being a dad to all five kids, even though three of them weren’t even his. He did an admirable job and perhaps the Lord will reward “dad” for the love given in those early years.

Sadly, after decades, “dad” ended his relationship with Michael. “Wow, was that even possible, for another dad to flake out? Will a person ever keep a solid family to count on?” Michael wondered. See, Michael started believing the Bible when in college, but “dad” wasn’t on board with this new

way of thinking and acting, being different than the family’s traditional religious and political attitude. Michael turned toward God’s Word. “Dad” didn’t, but maybe someday? Each man chooses his own destiny. NOTE: Despite troubles in their earthly family, Michael, along with his mom and two cousins, all eventually became part of a spiritual family –the family of God.

No perfect families on earth

This unique family example shows that some parents never do their job (the biological father). Some only a little while (“dad”). Some for a lifetime (“mom”). However, there are no perfect human parents, since there are no perfect people or perfect families on earth. Just think, some have no siblings, or only one parent. Orphans have no parents around. No matter your personal experience, if difficult or excellent, every earthly parent-child relationship is dysfunctional to some degree or non-existent. But there is hope!

Remember that earthly parents, although important, are temporary, since they’re only in this short life. Someone had to be born in one generation, someone in the next. That’s not something we can choose. Question: How can a family truly be happy together? Answer: To actually live in peace and joy together forever, God Himself must lead the family. NOTE: God wants you to be a part of His family. God made eternal plans to love you forever as a Heavenly Father. This family transcends earthly families. Keep reading.

Jesus’ earthly family

Jesus is unique because His biological father was God, not human (Luke 1:26-38 explains Jesus being divinely conceived). Mary was His mother and Joseph His earthly stepfather.

32 March / April 2023 | Christian Living GOD’S
Image by Steve Nelson

Joseph for some reason was not with Jesus at the end. Did Joseph die or walk away from Jesus? We simply don’t know. The silence of God on that subject speaks loudly.

Jesus was the firstborn of Mary. Later, Joseph and Mary had at least seven other children, making Jesus the oldest of at least eight children. Matthew 13:55 names His four half-brothers. Two of these siblings were later inspired by God to write some of the Scripture. Jesus’ half-brother James wrote the book of James and then half-brother Jude wrote Jude.

As for Jesus’ half-sisters, He had at least three. The word “all” in Matthew 13:56 reveals three or more.

In summary, Jesus was born in Bethlehem (Luke 2:7), grew up in Nazareth with ten total people living in the house as explained above (Matthew 2:23), then died in Jerusalem (Luke 23:46). Jesus was raised from the dead (Matt 28:6-7), stayed on earth in His new body for 40 days (Acts 1:3), then went to heaven (Acts 1:11). That’s where Jesus is right now, still alive and still in heaven. NOTE: Some of Jesus’ earthly family, like Mary and at least two of His half-brothers, became born again and are also in the spiritual family of God. They, and all of us, will be reunited when Jesus returns.

Jesus’ heavenly family can be ours too

Jesus was the firstborn of God. But He was not and is not an only child (Romans 8:29). Logically, if Jesus was the firstborn of God, no person on earth before Jesus could have been a

“child of God.” That includes all people across 4,000 years of history, since Adam and Eve up until Jesus. Well, what about people born after Jesus, in the last 2,000 years; could they have the option to become children of God too? If so, when? And how?

Starting on Pentecost in 28 AD, it was finally available for anyone to become part of God’s family. By confessing Jesus as Lord and believing that God raised Jesus from the dead, a person gets the Holy Spirit and literally becomes a child of God (Romans 8:15-17, 9:26, 10:9). Thus, not every person is a child of God, although people often make that erroneous statement in the world today.

FYI, the story at the beginning of the article is actually about me. I’m “Michael.” Now I have a second family tree and it’s MUCH BIGGER! God is my forever Dad. As the firstborn, Jesus is my big brother and will be to anyone else who becomes a child of God too. Are you also in God’s family? Accept God’s loving invitation. Get born into His family. God bless you. n

Steve Nelson has been a Bible teacher for over 25 years. This article comes from “First Child of God” Segment 7 of “CORE,” a course for families on how to read and understand the Bible. See T4FAMILYCENTER.COM or reach Steve at Christian Living | March / April 2023 33 FRESH DILL FRESH PRODUCE Enjoy Our Dine-In Café or Or der-To-Go Hot & Cold DELI - Ready to EAT Soups, Salads, Sandw hiches & More MEAT - SAUSAGES - CHEESE Produce • Seafood • Deli • Bakery 950 E. Fair view Ave., Meridian, ID 83642 • 208.807.2962 Open Mon.-Fri. 10AM - 8PM • Sat. 10AM - 7PM • Sun. 10AM - 6PM Great Selection Number s 6; 24-27 “I’ve always loved different European foods and love to try new foods as well... so many fresh, frozen, and even mixed European favorites... an amazing trip to a foodie’s Disneyland!” Baker y & Cof fee Large Selection of pastries, cookies, cakes & over 250+ kinds of candies
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U.S. Church suffers from theological amnesia

I am going to take a risk, walk out on a lonely gangplank and just say it: the Church has theological amnesia.

Observing the Church here in America? We seem to have forgotten our foundations. And me? I enjoy thinking about foundational matters. You see, strong foundations necessarily support all manner of doings we take for granted: ministry to the addicted, outreach to the hungry, foreign missions, children’s education, baptisms and weddings and funerals, and local church ministry to the elderly, families, and single folks. Our adopted foundations even support the core reasons why we weekly gather together. So it’s good to routinely ask, for we Christians what are our essential foundations?

Here is the dominant trend I see at work within local church walls now in the early 21st century: a therapeutic approach to faith that takes as its focus the feelings and narratives of every single believer. Many students of culture have come to label this a “championed narcissism”: the feelings of the conscious self are king over everything. Right? People today get positively red-faced angry if you don’t observe their preferred pronouns. (Wait, your today’s chosen pronouns must dictate my own way of being?!)

And so, implicitly aware of the broader culture’s championed narcissism and earnestly wanting folks to leave a church service filled with hope, pastors and worship bands focus their energies on addressing hurting spirits and lonely hearts. At one level that yearn is indeed Christ-driven. I mean, who wants to see anyone suffer? Certainly not me. But the problem is that, over time, we put the cart before the horse; we begin to replace tried and tested Christian foundations with plastic and trendy footings. We can – do you see it my friend? – we can turn Christianity into the dominant cultural trends rather

than bringing Christ to those cultural trends.

If the local church simply is the external culture, what’s the point for being the church? If the local church forsakes her 2,000-year-old theological foundations, how can she help but become the ever-changing culture? And if the local church merely becomes the dominant culture, why wouldn’t folks simply just go to the shopping mall or the counseling center, instead of the church, in order to engage secular rituals that make themselves feel better? (God bless everyone who works at shopping malls and counseling centers! We’re grateful for you!)

This all goes to enduring questions over accommodation. Why and how and for how long does one contextualize Christian faith in order to connect to the local culture? Does one continue to use biblical terms (sin, forgiveness, salvation, sanctification, eternity) because they are essential to the Christian way or does one adopt the local vernacular for the sake of integration? Just how long can one speak exclusively in the local vernacular without finally compromising the essential truths of the gospel story? Or deeper still, how long can one embrace the values of a local culture before one has traded Christian truth for the sake of missional expediency?

The American church is suffering from theological amnesia. We have forgotten the essential truths that brought Christianity to our time here in history. We have forgotten the God-given revelation about created reality, human nature, the enduring human plight, and the means of redemption and healing for all of that. We are, I’m terrified, living by a narrative that no longer is grounded or founded in Scripture.

And look. I get it. By saying all this aloud, I’m standing alone out on the end of a gangplank!

But the reality is that all the great Christian traditions – Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, and Protestantism – were

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“Removing theology from the church would be like removing clay from the sculptor, color from the painter.”

built on theological foundations. The Orthodox on God’s incarnation as Jesus of Nazareth. The Catholics on Jesus’ atoning death on a Roman cross. The Protestants on salvation by faith in Jesus Christ alone. Theology. Theology not cultural trends built, sustained, empowered, and grew the global church across twenty centuries. Why? Because theology penetrates and mirrors reality.

For the apostles themselves, theology was no mere abstraction. They lived and served and died martyrs’ deaths for the sake of theology: Jesus Christ is God’s supreme, embodied, resurrected, authoritative, life-giving means to God the Father. Jesus is so beautiful that He is worth living for! Jesus is so preeminent that He is worth dying for! The reality of Jesus’ person and work was the ground of the apostles’ very lives. Sharing the reality of Christ for the apostles was not a “have to” but a “get to.” For them theology was not some box to be checked off in order to join the apostolic ranks.

Inside Protestant history (my own legacy) theology built and formed traditions that lasted (well, up until today) 500 years of Christian life and mission. Men like Martin Luther, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, John Wesley, Francis Asbury, William Seymour, and Billy Graham all preached the theological truths found in Scripture. If one studies those leaders’ lives, one finds they were never teaching that theology was a protec-

tive fence; the first purpose of theology is not to keep out bad ideas. Those leaders were never encouraging prospective members to take their pencils and check a doctrinal box in order to gain membership into a local church; doctrine for those giants was no mere sociological signifier. No, for all of them theology was the raison d’etre, the reason for being, of the Church itself. Removing theology from the church would be like removing clay from the sculptor, color from the painter.

So what is our remedy? Stop putting the mawing self at the forefront of church mission. Instead? Return to our foundations. Indeed, is that not what the constant appeal – across both the Old and New Testaments – is throughout Scripture? “Hear Oh Israel, the Lord our God is one God!” “Jesus is Lord!” Old or New, most all sixty-six books of the Bible are crying out for us to remain committed to ultimate reality Himself.

Come quickly, Lord Jesus! Let the government be on Your shoulders. Transform all cultures to the glory of the Triune God. n

Ed Rybarczyk, Ph.D., is both an ordained minister and a retired History of Theology professor. He now produces and hosts the Uncensored Unprofessor podcast He can be reached at Christian Living | March / April 2023 35 203 11th Ave. S. • Nampa, ID • 208-466-7821 www .BrandtAgency .com In busine since 1936 AGENCY •Franklin V illage Subdivision Franklin Blvd. and Cherry Ln. in Nampa •Franklin V illage Nort h Subdivision Coming Soon! Mission Statement : To honor God and serve our community by treating our clients with respect, honesty and integrity; using the resources with which God has blessed us in pursuit of their bes t interests •Heron Ridg e Subdivision Greenhurst and Middleton Rd. in Nampa Last Phase Now Selling New Homes Available in Phase One Phase Two Now Star ting Turn Your Beautiful God-Given Brains on Everybody! @uncensoredunprofessor A Podcast for Deeper
Ed Rybarczyk

On Paul’s advice to ‘think on these things’

I am pretty confident most of us have heard the phrase ‘take your thoughts captive.’ What exactly does that mean? Is it biblical or just a cliché? Is it something we should dwell on, or dismiss? We are going to look at that in this article.

First, I think it is important that we realize the importance of our thoughts. They are powerful to do good or to do harm to ourselves and to others for that matter. In John Maxwell’s book, “Think on These Things,” he says, “What occupies your mind and what you think means more than anything else in your life.” He suggests that our thought life will make the determination on just about everything about our lives. Now, that is what I call powerful!

Let me ask you a question. Answer honestly. If you wake up in the morning and your brain immediately complains to yourself about having to get up so early, it thinks about all the dreaded meetings that are planned for the day at work, and cringes at sitting next to the guy who cracks his knuckles, what kind of day do you think you are going to have? A good one, or a lousy one?

Now, let’s wake up in the morning and in our brains immediately thank God for another day, thank God that we have a job, and ask God to relieve the arthritic pain in the hands of the guy who cracks his knuckles. What kind of day do you think you will have if you begin it that way?

Do you see how our thoughts determine what our day is going to look like? Focusing on the negatives affects how we feel and how we act. Oh, we’ll still have those meetings, and we’ll still hear the cracking of knuckles, but I think we will be much more tolerant because we thought about those things in a different light. The light of the Lord and His Word says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things” (Philippians 4:8). We have a better chance of responding to those things in a way that honors God and the people around us if we choose to look at them in a more positive way in light of this verse.

Removing negative thoughts and replacing them with positive thoughts may be easier said than done. So I am going to offer a few more examples to help get your thoughts moving in the right direction. No pun intended.

We can look at what we know to be true from the Bible and what we know to be true about God and His steadfast love for

Negative Thought


us and use that truth to refocus our thoughts. I don’t know about you, but I sure feel awful when I am having negative thoughts. It is no party, is it? Plus, it is a total downer for the people we are around. We want to be better than that. We want to be the person God wants us to be. Maxwell states, “You can literally change your life by beginning to think different thoughts.”

As we begin to change our thoughts, our lives change, and the things we do begin to change. We care more, we give more, we serve more, we love more, we have more opportunity and, most importantly, we easily and happily begin to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Ephesians 5:22-23).

As you can see, by thinking different thoughts, we change, and good change such as this is growth. Without growth, we are stagnant and in a proverbial negative rut. Continually living in a negative frame of mind will hinder the growth that God wants for you, His perfect will for your life. I don’t know of anyone that has ever said, “My life goal is to be a grump.” Or “When I grow up, I want to be in a rut.” No, that is not what God wants for us and it is not what we truly want for ourselves.

So, here is the challenge for you and me: ‘think on these things’. We must reframe our mindset to see the positive in all situations. It may take work and sometimes it might be a stretch, but I believe as Maxwell says, “that we can face each day with joy and optimism,” “that we can lift the spirits of those around us” and “that we can initiate good thinking and positive action.”

By thinking on the things listed in Philippians 4:8, we will be transformed by the renewing of our minds as Romans 12:2 instructs. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good and pleasing and perfect will.” There is enough negativity in the world – it has no place in the heart and mind of a follower of Christ. Agreed? n

Roxanne Drury is a wife, mother, grandmother, and retired Christian preschool teacher with a teaching certificate in Early Childhood Education. She has served the Lord in children’s ministry for over 40 years and is currently on staff at Rockharbor Church. She has recently written a new book that she calls “a God-inspired book for little girls.” She may be reached at

Positive Thought

36 March / April 2023 | Christian Living LIVING Philippians 4:8
Roxanne Drury
“Nobody at work likes me” “I’ll never get that promotion”
am misunderstood”
“God loves me no matter what”
“God sees me as valuable”
“God works all things together for good”

Larry, 14, has his sights set on college

The following information is provided by Wednesday’s Child, an organization that helps Idaho foster children find permanent homes.

Larry, 14, is an active teenager who describes himself as smart, silly, funny and a frequent jokester. He thinks that the most important thing for prospective families to know about him is that he’s a good kid whose biggest wish is to be adopted, and that he would do anything just to be a part of a family again Trips to the zoo, amusement parks, playing football with friends, reading, watching movies, listening to country music, and playing video games are just a few of the things that Larry really enjoys. He’s also always up for bike rides, an epic Nerf Gun battle, and learning to cook something new. Larry isn’t sure yet what he wants to do later in life but is currently working hard in school and definitely has his sights set on attending college.

Larry’s Permanency Team describes the best fit for him as a traditional family with a mom and a dad and feels that he will truly thrive in an environment where the dad is really positive and spends quality time with him. Larry is hoping for an active family who loves to do things together regularly. He is anxiously counting down the days until he can finally join a Forever Family who truly sees in him value, worth, and all he is capable of achieving. If Larry sounds like he’d fit right in with your family, and you would like to learn more about this deserving young man, submit an inquiry at today. n

For more information on the Idaho Wednesday’s Child Program, visit, or contact Specialized Recruitment Services Administrator Shawn White at or cell (208) 488-8989. Christian Living | March / April 2023 37 Furnace & A/C Service - Maintenance - Replacemen t 100% Money Back Guarantee 208-378-6624 m Maintenance Plan s $19.50/Month Includes Furnace And AC Maintenance 5090 N. Sawyer • Garden City, ID 24/7 Service Celebrating 23 Ye s in Business! Now Offering Residential Electrical & Plumbing Services

Believers must ‘hold fast’ to godly things

I am not a robot.

But how do you know?

With new technology it’s becoming harder to distinguish truth from fabrication. ChatGPT is a language model that can write articles, essays, songs, poems, and books in seconds in such a way that it sounds very real. A pastor recently tested out the technology and his parishioners couldn’t distinguish the difference between his sermon and the one written by AI (artificial intelligence).

Deepfake is the most advanced Photoshop technology out there and can make it very hard to distinguish if you’re looking at a real video of that actor or politician saying that audacious thing or if it’s fake.

I will say it again, I am not a robot.

Trust me.

When I first heard of these new advances, all I could think was, “It’s going to become more and more difficult to distinguish truth from reality.” It’s going to get even uglier in our world than it is now, and truth will be very hard to come by. But God is gracious and faithful.

For the Christian, we don’t need to worry about AI as much as we need to guard against spiritual deception. It’s vital that we cling to the truth at all cost. “Hold fast” appears 28 times in the ESV Bible.

In Luke 8:15, when Jesus explains the parable of the sower and the seed, He says, “As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.”

Romans 12:9, “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.”

1 Thessalonians 5:21, “…but test everything, hold fast to what is good.”

Hebrews 4:14, “… let us hold fast our confession.”

And what are we holding fast to, ultimately? Deuteronomy 13:4, “You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him and keep His commandments and obey His voice, and you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him.”

We’re warned by Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and Jude to not be deceived or led astray in the last days. Check every statement about God and His Word with the Word – go to church, take your Bible, keep it open.

“For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24).

The danger Christ warns us about is not against our government, conspiracies, or sicknesses – it’s against deception that undermines and takes our focus off of the gospel. It pulls our eyes from Christ and sets them on the world.

We are here, Christian, for the purpose of knowing Christ and making Him known. He has given us everything we need for life and godliness (1 Timothy 4:8). Don’t worry about all of the craziness; “the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponent with gentleness” (2 Timothy 2:24, 25).

Our King is coming; hold fast. Endure to the end. n

Bethany Riehl lives in the Treasure Valley with her husband, three kids, and one super chill dog. She writes articles and fictional novels when she can, and her one desire is to point others to the love and sufficiency of Jesus Christ. Her books can be found on Amazon or at your local library…after you request them to be in stock, of course.

38 March / April 2023 | Christian Living FIGHT
Bethany Riehl Christian Living | March / April 2023 39 CHURCHES IN YOUR AREA BOISE 600 N. Ten Mile Rd. Meridian, ID Join us on Sundays: • On YouTube - 11:00 am Look for Centra l Va lley Meridian • On Campus • 8:00 am, 9:30 am and 11:00 am • Slavic Service 2:00 pm MIDDLETON The Sanctuary Cowboy Church Sunday Service 10 AM High Desert Station 6780 Willis Road, Star, ID 83669 208-329-8246 NEW LOCATION: MERIDIAN For information on adding your church to this directory, please call 208-703-7509 or email: boisechristianliving EASTER SERVICES Parking gates open at 5AM. Handicap parking available. Please dress warmly and plan to get there early enough to park and hike up the butte. HE IS RISEN! Lizard But te Easter Sunrise Service Sunday, April 9th, 2023 at 7:15 A.M. 86TH Annual For more information or to make a donation, visit “He is not here: for he is risen, as he said.”
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Articles inside

Believers must ‘hold fast’ to godly things

pages 38-39

Larry, 14, has his sights set on college

page 37

On Paul’s advice to ‘think on these things’

page 36

U.S. Church suffers from theological amnesia

pages 34-35

family tree One earthly family’s (imperfect) example

pages 32-33

National Day of Prayer set for May 4

page 31

THE ROAD Less Traveled ‘Our story’: the power of history

page 30

Christians in Pakistan face discrimination

pages 28-29

Are your finances in keeping with your faith?

page 26

Pray for and bless your pastor and family

pages 24-25

Even a one-day fast can help your body

pages 22-23

business with God and the Amish

page 21

Bob & Terri Anderson: In business COVER STORY

page 20

History, Culture & Faith Yale man took on the French Revolution

pages 18-19

Choose faithfulness in your marriage

pages 16-17

Meridian center meeting needs of all kinds

pages 14-15

Examining our motives in money matters

pages 12-13

Vic Rodriquez

page 11

Choose to enjoy life with your spouse

page 10

‘To Protect and to Serve’ – a 40-year promise

pages 8-9

Nampans to hold prayer walk downtown Spring prayer walk planned in Caldwell

page 7

SYMBOLISM & Salvation What lampstand did God build for you?

pages 6-7

Jesus – the original Good Samaritan

pages 4-5
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